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If you’re anything like me, you’ve had bananas ripening past the point of no return right before your very eyes on the kitchen counter. With no immediate plans for the future, my usual reaction is to throw the bananas in their peel directly in the freezer in an effort to save them. I decided to find out the absolute best way to freeze bananas in the peel and thaw them to have for future use.
Bananas can be frozen in the peel without sacrificing the taste of the fruit. Although the peel will turn a dark yellow or brown, the fruit inside will be perfect to use in baking recipes and smoothies. The biggest advantage of this technique is to save time.
Can you freeze a banana in the peel? Why or why not?
There are many pros and cons of freezing a banana in the peel. I’ve found the biggest pro to this method is that it allows you to put fully ripened bananas directly into the freezer inside a freezer-safe bag without taking time to peel, cut, and prep the fruit. When I freeze bananas in the peel, the texture of the fruit seems to be a little softer which is great to use in recipes that you would typically use them for such as banana bread and muffins. You don’t need to mix or mash the banana nearly as much as a fresh and ripe banana.
The biggest disadvantage of freezing the banana in the peel is the amount of time takes to thaw, slice, and scoop the fruit after you take it out of the freezer. You have to allow for some extra time to do this before you are able to use it in a recipe. Although this method works perfectly fine to use in smoothies, I found that the texture of the banana is not as firm as I like it to be. For smoothies, I prefer to use another method utilizing flash-freezing as I’ve outlined in the paragraph called, “What is the best way to freeze bananas?”
How to Freeze a Banana in the Peel
Simply put the bananas in the peel inside a freezer-safe bag, squeeze out the air, and put a date on the label. Place the bananas in your freezer until you are ready to use them. The beauty of freezing bananas inside of the peel is that it requires minimal prep work. You might notice your bananas are getting too ripe, but don’t have time to peel and slice them before putting them in the freezer. This method allows you to prevent throwing the banana away and peel the banana at a later date when you have more time.
How to Peel a Frozen Banana
Even if the banana is yellow before you put it in the freezer, it will change to a dark yellow or brown after being frozen. The banana pictured above was bright yellow before I froze it and as you can see it turned a dark yellow in the freezer. This is nothing to worry about as it won’t change the quality of the taste. When a recipe calls for a banana, remove it from the freezer and allow it to thaw on a plate or bowl for at least 10 minutes. Use a kitchen knife to slice the banana in half lengthways on a cutting board. Cut the stem and the bottom off to make removing the fruit even easier.
Once you have cut the banana in half and open the banana, run a spoon under hot water and use the spoon to scoop out the fruit. It should come out mostly intact if you allowed the banana to thaw out enough.
What is the best way to freeze bananas?
The best way to freeze bananas is to peel them before freezing them so they are ready when you need them. Slice them with a kitchen knife into about 1/2″ pieces, line a cookie sheet with wax paper, and place the banana slices evenly in one layer on the pan. Make sure they are not touching to prevent them from sticking to each other. Place another piece of wax paper on top of the slices and place them in the freezer for at least one hour or until completely frozen. Take them out of the freezer and place the banana slices evenly in one layer in freezer-safe bags, seal the air out, and label them with the date. Place them in the freezer until you need them for a recipe.
How to Freeze Whole Peeled Bananas
Peel the bananas and place the whole fruit on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper. Make sure if you have multiple bananas, they are not touching each other to prevent sticking together. Cover the bananas with wax paper and place them in your freezer for 1 to 2 hours or until completely frozen. Remove the bananas from the freezer and place them inside a freezer-safe bag such as a Ziploc. Label the bag with the date and put them back in the freezer until you need to use them.
What to do with Frozen Bananas in the Peel
After thawing and peeling frozen bananas, it’s best to use them for recipes that call mashed bananas such as protein shakes, smoothies, muffins, bread, cakes, and cookies. Keep in mind, the longer a banana ripens before you freeze it, the sweeter the fruit will be as it changes from starch to sugar. Thawed foods that have been frozen close to their peak quality taste even better according to the USDA. After being thawed out, the fruit will be soft in texture which will allow it to break down and mix easier in a recipe than a fresh banana. Freezing a banana in the peel is a great way to save time and keep the fruit at its desired ripeness for making your recipes in the future.
Can you freeze bananas in a Ziploc bag?
You can freeze bananas in a Ziploc bag. Ziploc bags meet the safety requirements of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for freezer temperatures. Clear freezer-safe bags work best as you can see the quality of the banana easily.
How long can you freeze bananas in the peel?
As a general rule, bananas will stay optimal in the freezer for 2-3 months if you freeze them the same day you buy them according to FoodSafety.gov. Bananas will always stay safe to eat if the temperature in the freezer is constantly at 0 degrees Fahrenheit, but the quality of the fruit will go down as you freeze them for longer periods of time according to the USDA. Freezing prevents microorganisms from growing which causes food to spoil which causes foodborne illness.
Is it OK to use brown frozen bananas in a peel?
It is perfectly ok to use the fruit from brown frozen bananas for recipes such as smoothies, muffins, cookies, and bread. A banana’s peel will turn dark yellow or brown in the freezer even if it was bright yellow before. If the banana peel is dark yellow or brown and some frost present, but no mold or visible signs of spoilage, it should still be fine to use in recipes. Just make sure the banana flesh is still good to eat and there isn’t any mold present on the peel or fruit inside. If the banana flesh is dark brown or black, mushy, or has a gooey texture, it has probably gone bad.