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The Real Foods guide to ripening bananas

Ripening bananas

First of all, buy some bananas!

Step 1: Bag your bananas. You can ripen bananas the same way banana distributors do: expose them to ethylene gas. Green bananas can be quite fibrous and to get the maximum nutrition and antioxidants from bananas you want them to ripen.

Paper_bag_banana_and_apple_ how_to_ripen







Step 2: Place the bananas you want to ripen in a paper or plastic bag with an unpeeled, uncut apple, pear, or tomato (or even another banana!). They will all emit ethylene gas as they ripen. Trapped inside the bag, the gas will accelerate the ripening process. Leave the bag in a warm, dry area to help aid the ripening process.

green_unripen_and_ yellow_ ripen_ bananas







Step 3: Check the bag  to see the progress. If the bananas are ripened, remove them from the bag. If not, leave them for another day. It should normally take about 24 hours to ripen this way. A ripe banana should be yellow with the occasional brown or black spot.








Step 4: Enjoy your tasty, sweet, fully ripe bananas!


Softening bananas


Alternatively if you are looking to soften your bananas in under an hour (perhaps you want to use them for banana bread) try this easy method. It's not strictly ripening them, it's softening them, so it doesn't turn entirely green bananas sweet, they will need to be somewhat ripe to start with.


Step 1: Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 2, 300 degrees Fahrenheit or 150 degrees Celsius.


Step 2: Line a baking sheet with tinfoil or greaseproof paper. The bananas can make a mess and this will help!

softening bananas ripening

Step 3: Pop the bananas on the baking sheet and put in the oven until blackened. Usually around 30-40 minutes although it can take longer if you've particularly large bananas.


Step 4: Remove and let them cool for 20 minutes and use! (Or don heavy duty gloves and squeeze out the banana beforehand, just be warned it's extremely hot!)


Or try this baked bananas recipe with pecan nuts and soft brown sugar. Here are all our banana recipes.


If you would like to know more about bananas, have a look at our article on their nutrition and some clever ideas for using them. For instance, did you know that frozen bananas make the most delicious vegan ice cream? Find out more about bananas here.


By Kim Betney

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