The best way to freeze bananas is to slice them into pieces and then flash freeze the slices. Spread sliced bananas in a single layer on a baking sheet and chill for 2 hours. Then take the banana slices off the tray and place them in an airtight container, plastic wrap, or a freezer-safe bag. Return the partially frozen bananas to the freezer. These frozen bananas will stay good for 3 months.
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5 Steps to Freeze Your Bananas Without Discoloration
Freezing fresh bananas is simpler than it may seem. Frozen banana chunks can be kept from turning brown with just three simple steps. Here’s the process:
Take any unpeeled bananas you intend to freeze and peel them. Removing the peel is vital. A banana’s peel becomes extremely difficult to remove once they are frozen, so the peel should always be removed in advance. This allows you to easily use your frozen bananas in smoothies or other recipes later.
Once your bananas are peeled, cut them into slices ¼–1 inch (6–25 mm) thick. Make sure each slice is roughly the same thickness and does not exceed 1 inch thick. Thin banana slices respond better to the freezing process and will retain a fresh taste.
Partially Freeze Your Slices
Place your banana slices on a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place this sheet in the freezer for 1–2 hours until the banana pieces are hard to the touch. This method will par-freeze the bananas while minimizing frost damage from the growth of ice crystals.
Place Your Bananas Slices in a Freezer-Safe Container
After completing step 3, remove your banana slices from the baking sheet and place them in a freezer-safe container. Freezer-safe containers include an airtight plastic container, heavy-duty plastic wrap, and plastic freezer bags. When freezing bananas, be sure to remove as much air from the container as possible. This will help prevent oxidation and thus keep your bananas from browning.
Store Your Bananas Until You Need Them
After you’ve stored your bananas in their new freezer-safe storage container, return them to the freezer. When stored this way, bananas will remain fresh for up to 3 months. You can use them frozen, or thaw the slices to add them to baked goods, such as banana bread.
Why Do Bananas Turn Brown in the Freezer?
Bananas brown due to oxidation as the fruit interacts with the air. A ripe banana blackens or browns more quickly in the freezer as a result of high water content. When the water inside the banana freezes, the resulting ice crystals expand and rupture the banana flesh. These ruptures then expose the banana to more air which causes the oxidation process to speed up.
- Bananas brown because they oxidize when exposed to the air.
- Frozen bananas brown quicker because ice crystals rupture the flesh and thus expose bananas to more air than usual.
This harmful oxidation process is why it’s vital to pre-freeze banana slices for a couple of hours. It allows smaller, less damaging ice crystals to form. This reduces the potential damage a banana can take from the crystals. Then, the frozen slices must be placed in an airtight container to prevent oxidation from turning your banana slices brown.
How Long Can You Keep Bananas in the Freezer?
Frozen banana slices will keep for 2–3 months before freezer burn sets in. Overripe bananas are usually the best candidates for freezer storage. Look for bananas with bright yellow peels where brown spots are just starting to form.
- Bananas will keep for 2–3 months in the freezer.
- Use proper storage containers to minimize the chance of freezer burn setting in early.
Long-term storage of your frozen bananas depends on having the right container. Freezer-safe bags make for more effective storage than standard Ziploc bags. Use these gallon freezer Ziploc bags to safely store your sliced bananas in the freezer.
What is the Best Way to Freeze Bananas?
The best way to freeze bananas is to peel them, slice them, par-freeze them, and then move them to an airtight container for longer storage. This will minimize browning and keep your bananas good for months. Let’s further break down this process into a few simple reminders:
- Peel any bananas you plan to freeze.
- Slice the peeled bananas.
- Partially freeze your banana slices for 2 hours on a baking tray lined with a piece of parchment paper.
- Move frozen slices to an airtight container or freezer bag for long-term storage.
- Frozen bananas will keep for up to 3 months.
That’s all you need to know to safely freeze bananas. There are plenty of great banana recipes that work well with frozen bananas, including acai bowls and banana muffins. Have fun experimenting with frozen bananas in things like a smoothie recipe.