Have you ever bought a bunch of bananas and completely forgot about them? Now you're left with black bananas that probably have to go into the trash... or do they? In today's post, I'll share four different methods for learning how to freeze bananas to prevent them from spoiling, take advantage of sales by stocking up, or doing meal prep!
Bananas are a great source of potassium- the perfect fruit to thicken up a smoothie or use as a base to make tasty banana bread! I always like to have some on hand for a healthy snack or recipe.
However, anyone who's ever bought a whole bunch of bananas, knows that you only have a short window to actually eat them.
You normally need to wait for them to ripen and become yellow. Then, you can use or eat them quickly before they start to brown. But, we have all had the moment where we've left a lone banana or two for too long and now they are past edible (or so we believe).
One way of making this easier for yourself and reducing any food waste is to freeze your bananas once they are ripe. I've done this in the past with avocados and it has been a huge help to avoid food waste, but also allows us to take care of savings--we can buy a bunch when they're on sale and stock up without worrying about them spoiling!
Frequently Asked Questions About Freezing Bananas
Here are a few questions that frequently pop up when researching frozen ripe bananas...
How can I tell if a banana is ripe?
You can tell if a banana is fully ripe when it's a dark yellow dotted with brown spots. This means they are at their sweetest and packed full of flavor!
Should I just stick the whole banana in the freezer?
You can (and I'll share more of that down below). However, the biggest tip I can offer you when it comes to freezing bananas is to peel them before freezing them, no matter which method you're using.
- Help them stay fresh.
- Make it easier to use straight from the freezer instead of trying to remove the peel frozen.
How long can I keep bananas in the freezer?
Frozen bananas can stay fresh for up to three months. This will give you plenty of time to work your way through every banana recipe you can think of!
Just be sure to date the freezer bags for the day you put the bananas in. That way, you can check how long they've been there. It can get tricky to differentiate between identical bags of bananas after a few months.
Do I need to wash bananas?
Not many people would think of washing a banana before freezing it, but it's more important than you might think.
Even though they're contained within the peel, it's easy for any dirt and bacteria to get transferred from the peel onto the banana itself as you are peeling it.
There can also be pesticide residues that live on the banana peel and can be potentially toxic if not washed off properly.
These are the top 3 pesticides found on bananas:
It doesn't take long to wash a banana, so it's better to be safe than sorry!
How should I properly wash a banana before freezing it?
To wash your bananas before eating, run some water with some gentle non-toxic soap and gently scrub the bananas with your hand. If you have any baking soda on hand, add a scoop of it into a bowl with water, and let the bananas soak.
You can also spray the banana with some organic fruit and veggie wash before peeling it and rub off any dirt or pesticide residue lightly with your hand.
Tip: Be careful not to apply too much pressure, or you might damage the banana inside, especially if it's already quite ripe.
How To Freeze Bananas: 4 Ways
Depending on what you plan to use your bananas for, there are different ways to freeze them. Let's look at the four main methods of how to freeze bananas so you can make the most of them.
Method 1: Freeze Them Whole
Frozen bananas can make for a delicious, cooling snack all on their own or you can use them in a recipe.
When my kids were younger, I also used to prep my bananas to make homemade "NICE" cream. It was one of our favorite desserts! Having the bananas already peeled and frozen made it 10x easier to make.
If you want to be able to enjoy your banana as is, simply peel it and place it in a freezer-safe bag, making sure to squeeze the air out before sealing.
The less air in the bag, the longer the bananas will last in the freezer.
Tip: Take a frozen banana and eat it dipped in some of this homemade almond butter fruit dip or plain nut or seed butter! In fact, how about dipping a frozen whole banana (or slices) in this chocolate dip or almond dip and refreezing for a wholesome delicious treat.
Method 2: Freeze Them Sliced
This is one of my favorite ways to meal prep bananas because I can use them in so many different ways!
They're easy to throw into a blender if you plan on making a breakfast smoothie or you can pull them from the freezer when you're craving a snack later in the evening.
To follow this method:
- Prep a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Slice the banana into 1/2 inch slices and neatly place them on the parchment paper.
- Place the baking sheet in your freezer and let it sit for about an hour or until your banana slices firm up a bit.
- Then, taking your serving options into consideration, evenly portion out the sliced bananas into freezer snack bags.
If you want to get extra organized (and kind of fancy), you can add other fruits to your sliced banana bags, like frozen blueberries, strawberries, or whatever else you love to combine. That way, you have everything in a smoothie freezer pack ready to go whenever you feel like a fruity drink.
Method 3: Store Mashed Bananas In Cubes
If you're planning to stock up on bananas so they can be added to a smoothie, then mashing them and storing the bananas in cubes is a great time-saver.
To do this:
- Add the bananas to a bowl and mash them well with a fork.
- To make things easier, you can also add the soft bananas into a blender (or food processor) and puree.
- Go ahead and pour them into unused ice trays to store in the freezer.
- When it comes to making a smoothie, you can now just simply pop out a cube and drop it into your blender.
As an added bonus, using frozen bananas in your summer smoothies makes them extra cold--perfect for cooling down on a hot day!
Method 4: Freeze Them Mashed In A Freezer Bag
If you've got some seriously overripe bananas that are already starting to brown, then this is the perfect way to make sure they don't go to waste. Mashed bananas are useful for baking tasty banana-flavored treats, like banana bread or healthy pancakes!
To use this method:
- Think about what recipes you might like to make in advance and portion out the amount of banana you need. Portioning out 1.5 cups would work best because that's a standard amount for most banana bread recipes. At the end of the day, whatever recipe you like is the best way to decide what to portion.
- After that has been decided, add the bananas to a bowl and mash them well with a fork, leaving as few lumps as possible. You can also puree the bananas in a blender (or food processor).
- Spoon it into a freezer bag, seal it carefully, and label it just like the others.
With mashed bananas, you want to make sure that you're using a sealable, secure freezer bag. If the mashed bananas leak, it'll be tricky to clean frozen bananas off the inside of your freezer! You can also use these Twixit! Bag Clips to keep the freezer bags extra secure by clipping the bag shut to avoid any spillage or air getting into the bag.
To save space in your freezer, you can squash the mixture flat inside the bag. Then, you can stack all your bags of mashed bananas on top of one another, leaving room to spare inside your freezer.
Method 1: Freeze Whole
- Simply peel bananas and place in a freezer-safe bag, making sure to squeeze the air out before sealing. (The less air in the bag, the longer the bananas will last in the freezer.)
Method 2: Freeze Sliced
- Prep a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Slice bananas into 1/2 inch slices place neatly in one layer on the parchment paper.
- Place the baking sheet in the freezer and let sit for about an hour or until the slices firm up a bit.
- Taking serving options / recipes into consideration, evenly portion the sliced bananas into freezer snack bags.
Method 3: Mashed Banana Cubes
- Place bananas in a bowl and mash well with a fork.
- Alternatively, puree the bananas in a blender or food processor.
- Pour the mash or puree into ice cube trays.
- Place ice cube trays in freezer until frozen solid.
- Either leave the cubes in the trays for future use, or remove the cubes and store in freezer-safe bags.
- For recipes, thaw out the desired amount of cubes prior to making the recipe.
- For smoothies, remove the desired amount of cubes from the tray and drop into blender before blending.
Method 4: Mashed Puree
- Mash bananas in a bowl or puree in blender or food processor.
- Portion out the desired amount of mashed bananas and place in freezer bags. Portioning out 1.5 cups is one good option as that's a standard amount for most banana bread recipes.
- Seal the bags carefully, label with the date and amount of bananas, and place in freezer.
How To Freeze Bananas: Which Method Works Best For You?
Freezing foods is a great way to make your groceries go further. Plus, reducing food waste through freezing saves you money and makes sure you always have back-up foods ready to go.
With a freezer full of frozen goodies like these, you'll never be lacking recipe ingredients again!
More Freezer Friendly Posts To Read:
There are so many foods that you can store up easily by freezing them. Now you've learned how to freeze bananas, why not branch out? You might like to learn more about:
- The Easiest Way To Preserve Tomatoes
- 4 Ways To Freeze Avocados
- How To Freeze and Store Blueberries
- The Easiest Way To Preserve Herbs
I'd love to hear how these techniques work for you and what the cheapest deal is on bananas that you've ever gotten!