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6 Ways To Make Your Bananas Last Longer

Oct 9, 2020

Image: Banana bunch -

Is there anything more delicious than fresh fruit asks this article from Yes—dark chocolate. But fresh fruit is definitely up there, and it’s hard to beat the taste of a ripe banana. If you’re like us, you’re always trying to keep bananas fresh, especially if you’ve bought a bunch but only want to eat one at a time.

Here are some of the most effective ways you can keep your bananas from browning too quickly. (Plan B is to make more banana bread or try the banana pudding recipe at the end of this article!)

1. Hang your bananas

Turns out there’s a scientific reason you should be hanging your bananas from a hook. Bananas start ripening as soon as they’re picked from trees—ethylene gas releases from the stems as soon as they’re picked, but when you hang bananas from a hook, the gas works more slowly. Hanging bananas also prevents them from bruising on the counter, which they’re more prone to do as they continue ripening.

You can pick up a fruit basket with a built-in hook or a small under-cabinet hook made specifically for bananas. Either way, keep your bananas at room temperature while they ripen on the hook.

2. Buy green bananas

The easiest way to prolong your bananas’ shelf life is to buy the greenest bananas you can find. They’re picked while still green, then slowly ripen over time to reach that bright yellow we love. Instead of grabbing perfectly ripened bananas you’re eyeing for banana muffins, grab a green bunch you can hang from your hook and watch ripen.

3. Wrap banana stems in plastic wrap

Remember that ethylene gas that makes bananas ripen? It comes from the stems, which means you can wrap those stems—with plastic wrap or aluminum foil—to slow down the ripening process. You may see grocery stores selling bunches of bananas with plastic wrap on the stems, but for best results, take your bananas apart and wrap their stems individually.

4. Place ripe bananas in the fridge

One of the cardinal rules of banana storage is to never store them in the fridge. But rules are meant to be broken, especially when it comes to bananas. You should keep green bananas far away from the fridge, but once your bananas have completely ripened, you can move them to the fridge where the cool temperatures will keep them from ripening further (for a few days at least).

5. Freeze your bananas

Freezing bananas is one of the easiest ways to keep them preserved for future use. But how you freeze bananas could have a big impact on how well they thaw. Freezing the entire bunch will darken the peels, and they’ll thaw poorly. Instead, consider freezing peeled, individual bananas or banana slices in resealable airtight bags. Find out a few more ways to freeze bananas properly.

6. Buy a banana keeper

Bruising can wreak havoc on your bananas. It leads to squishy parts and faster ripening, which is where hard cases built specifically for bananas come in handy. The Banana Keeper can hold one banana at a time and acts as a great solution for keeping individual fruits ripe and ready for lunch (or for your afternoon snack). You may want more than one if you’re looking to protect a bunch, but if you have one overripe banana, this is a great solution. Now, check out some clever uses for extra bananas, besides eating them.

Here’s the Secret to Grandma’s Legendary Banana Pudding

Yes, you CAN make nostalgic banana pudding from scratch, just like Grandma's says Mandy Naglich for Taste of Home!

Banana pudding is one of those desserts that has a classic old-school connotation. You might think of it as an hours-long process to get the perfect dessert for the church potluck or a quick treat to whip up with pre-made ingredients like Cool Whip and Jell-O pudding. My husband thinks of this recipe as the former and his childhood favorite dessert made by his grandmother.

I tried to make banana pudding from scratch for him many times but always heard, “This is great but it’s not like Grandma’s.” So finally, I found out her secrets and I’m so excited to share them with you.

How to make banana pudding from scratch

For the pudding

1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons 1 teaspoon cornstarch
teaspoon salt
2 cups milk
5 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons butter
For the whipped cream
2 cups heavy whipping cream
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
For the layers
4 to 6 ripe bananas
1 package ladyfingers

The banana pudding secrets

The biggest thing my recipe was missing: ladyfingers! These crunchy cookies—not the spongy kind you sometimes find in the bakery—are thicker and less sweet than the more traditional vanilla wafer. They really soak up the banana pudding so the layer of ladyfingers becomes cake-like in the assembled pudding.

Grandma also used an extra egg yolk in her recipes which makes the pudding thick and more yellow. That yellow color really makes you think banana before you even give the pudding a try!

My special twist on the recipe is adding cinnamon to the whipped cream. The hint of spice from the cinnamon elevates the flavors from being very sweet and vanilla-y to a more complex bite. It’s a great addition to many desserts with homemade whipped cream.

Making banana pudding

Now using those secrets, it’s time to make the pudding.

- In a medium saucepan whisk together sugar, cornstarch, and salt.
- Once well combined, add milk and place over medium-high heat, whisking until combined.
- Then add egg yolks and cook, stirring constantly until thickened.
- Stir in the butter and vanilla and remove from heat. Allow to cool at room temperature for five minutes.
- Press plastic wrap into the top of the pudding, then place in the refrigerator to cool completely, about an hour.

Make the whipped cream

- In a very cold bowl (chill it in the freezer!), whip heavy cream and sugar on high with a whisk attachment on a stand mixer or hand beaters.
- As soon as stiff peaks form, whip in cinnamon, a half teaspoon at a time.

Time to put it all together

You can serve this dessert as individual puddings or in a medium-sized trifle dish. I love how the layers look through the glass.

Roughly chop or break ladyfingers with your hands—uneven pieces will give your pudding a more interesting texture. Keep a few whole for garnishing. Spread half the pieces on the bottom of your dish(es) and cover with half the banana pudding.

Slice half of your ripe bananas. Arrange the slices over the pudding layer and quickly top with whipped cream. The faster you top the bananas, the slower they will start to brown.

Repeat the layers and top with a little ladyfinger crumble, some cinnamon, and a few banana slices. Or, if serving individually, stand half of a ladyfinger up in the side of each dish.

Just like Grandma’s! Making pudding from scratch instead of using boxed mixes makes all the difference. The flavor is more subtle and soaks up the banana flavor. The real game changer is the ladyfingers. Each cakey bite plays off the rich, homemade spiced whipped cream for a decadent but not-too-heavy dessert.

I served our pudding in wine glasses and loved the classy touch it gave such a classic dessert!

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