If you’re a banana fan, then you’re familiar with the race to eat them before they over-ripen. Packed with potassium, fiber and valuable vitamins, the yellow fruit is a nutritious and delicious snack (some studies even suggest you should eat one per day!). But once bananas brown beyond a certain point, no one’s too quick to reach for the bunch. Luckily, it’s at this point that they’re prime for freezing—and in the freezer, they’ll last two or three more months!
You can freeze bananas a variety of super easy ways, but be sure to do so when they’re fully ripe and sprinkled with brown spots because this indicates the fruit is at peak sweetness. Read on for full freezing directions.
How to Freeze Whole Bananas
Planning to munch on the frozen fruit as a snack or stir ’em into your baked goods, like this Best Banana Bread? Keep them whole. Simply peel the bananas, place them in a freezer-friendly container or bag, and toss in the freezer. (We recommend labeling the container with the date to help you stay organized.)
You’ve probably seen people store whole bundles of bananas in their freezer—peel and all. Is this acceptable? Well, that’s up to you. Bananas that were frozen in their peels are safe to consume, but you do run the risk of decreasing the quality of the fruit because they won’t stay as fresh. Plus, upon freezing, banana peels turn dark and soft, which makes them a bit harder to remove. So, to save yourself some fussing when you’re finally looking to use the frozen fruit, we suggest peeling them in advance.
How to Freeze Sliced Bananas
To freeze banana pieces, peel and cut them crosswise into 1/2-in.- to 3/4-in.-thick slices. Then, place them in a single layer on a wax-paper-lined baking sheet and flash-freeze until the slices are frozen solid, about two hours. (Psst! Flash-freezing is super important here because it ensures the individual pieces won’t clump together.) Lastly, transfer the frozen pieces to a freezer-safe container or bag, and return to the freezer. And don’t forget to label!
These banana bites are perfect for throwing in smoothies because they won’t wear out the blender’s motor, and if you leave the fruit frozen, they can even take the place of ice in your morning beverage. Note: If you’re using frozen bananas to bake, you’ll need to thaw them first; allow about an hour for this.
How to Freeze Mashed Bananas
If you want to get a jump on recipe prep for items such as baby food or these Frosted Banana Bars, freeze already-mashed bananas. Simply peel and mash the fruit, then spoon into a freezer-safe bag. Before placing in the freezer, press all the air out of the bag and seal it shut. Make sure to freeze the bags flat on their side. Pro tip: Write how many cups of banana mash is in each bag, and you’ll thank yourself later on.