Bananas are tasty, healthy fruits that are great on their own, or as an ingredient in delicious recipes like banana bread or smoothies.
However, they can go past their best very quickly, and turn into a mushy, gross mess if you aren’t careful.
But just because your bananas are going past their peak, it doesn’t mean that they have to go to waste!
Freezing your bananas is the perfect way to preserve them and stop them from becoming overripe, letting you defrost and enjoy them whenever suits you best.
In this handy guide, we’ll cover all you need to know about freezing bananas – from the easiest ways to do it to how long they’ll last in the freezer.
So let’s get started, and take a look at how to freeze bananas the simple way!
Can You Freeze Bananas?
First things first – can you actually freeze bananas? As it turns out, yes: you can! Well, at least as long as you do it properly.
Bananas are almost 75% water. This large amount of water means that they can fare badly if they aren’t frozen properly, leading to issues like freezer burn (where the moisture in a food is lost after being frozen for a long time).
To prevent problems like these, you need to make sure that the bananas are kept in an airtight container.
Cold air permeating food is one of the biggest causes of freezer burn, so keeping freezing air out will make sure that the bananas stay in good condition.
While there can be some issues with freezing bananas, as long as you do it properly, you shouldn’t have any problems.
So let’s take a look at the right way to freeze bananas!
How To Freeze Bananas? Three Easy Methods
Method One: Whole Bananas
One of the easiest ways to freeze a banana is to do it whole.
This is great for simply preserving a banana that’s close to overripening, and the frozen banana can easily be broken or sliced to size depending on how much you need.
Freezing whole bananas is easy. Start out by peeling the bananas, and then add them to a freezable container such as a freezer bag or other airtight container.
Remove as much air from the container as possible – this prevents the bananas from experiencing issues like freezer burn or from taking on that unpleasant freezer flavor.
Then, all you need to do is stick them in the freezer, and you’re good to go!
Frozen whole bananas need to be used within 6 months, but if the banana is already ripe you’re better off using them within 2-3 months.
Method Two: Sliced Bananas
Sliced bananas are also extremely easy to freeze, but take a little bit more work than a whole banana if you want to freeze it properly.
This is because, unless you’re packaging each slice individually, you’ll need to flash freeze them first.
Flash freezing (as the name suggests) is where you freeze something quickly.
This is normally done by subjecting it to extremely cold temperatures, but with sliced bananas you can get away with just popping them in the freezer for a few hours.
Start by peeling and slicing the bananas into whichever size you need. Then, spread the slices out on a tray or baking sheet and pop them in the freezer for around 2-3 hours.
This prevents the slices from freezing together in one big clump, which defeats the purpose of slicing them in the first place!
Next, take out the frozen slices and put them in a freezer-safe container or freezer bag, removing as much excess air as possible.
Put them back in the freezer, and use them within 6 months.
Frozen sliced bananas are great if you don’t need to use an entire banana in one go, or if you need a certain amount to add to a recipe like smoothies or banana chips.
Method Three: Mashed Bananas
Freezing mashed bananas is perfect for when you need bananas as an ingredient in a hurry.
Frozen mashed banana is super handy if you’re making something like banana bread, smoothies, or simply want your banana pre-mashed without having to defrost it beforehand.
Luckily, freezing mashed bananas is far easier than slices, as there’s no need for flash freezing. Instead, you can just straight into the freezing process.
You’ll still need to prepare the banana properly in advance, however, to prevent issues such as freezer burn.
To freeze mashed bananas, you need to follow a similar process to freezing whole bananas.
Start by mashing up the bananas, then place them in a freezer bag or other airtight container. Squeeze out any excess air, and seal it to prevent freezer burn.
Again, label the container with the date you’re freezing it so you can keep track of how long left it will last, and keep it in the freezer for 3 to 6 months.
How To Defrost Your Frozen Bananas?
Okay – so now that you know how to freeze bananas, let’s take a look at how to thaw them out!
The easiest way to defrost bananas is with warm water. Submerge the container in warm water for around 10 minutes, or run them under a hot faucet for 2-3 minutes, and they’re ready to go!
You can also defrost the frozen bananas in the microwave. Transfer them to a microwavable bowl, and heat them on the defrost setting until they’re fully thawed out.
This should take around 2-3 minutes, depending on how you freeze them.
Whole bananas will take longer to defrost, as they are more dense, have a lower surface area, and hold onto their cold temperature for longer.
Their water content is also inside the banana itself, as opposed to mashed bananas where most of the liquid is already outside.
Sliced and mashed bananas, as a result, take less time to thaw out and are ready to use faster.
Defrosting bananas in these methods is quick and simple, but they can cause some issues.
As we’ve already mentioned, bananas have a high water content; this is released when the bananas are thawed, and can cause them to be mushy if defrosted too quickly.
To prevent this, you can defrost them more slowly in the fridge (which takes around 6 hours), or at room temperature (in about 2 hours).
Depending on what you’re planning on using your bananas for, you might not even need to defrost them in the first place.
For smoothies and milkshakes, for example, you can pop the frozen banana straight into your blender and use them as is.
This doesn’t just save you time and effort from defrosting them, but also helps to keep your drink colder for longer.
Even if you are defrosting them quickly, though, you shouldn’t drain away the liquid released during the thawing process.
This actually contains a lot of the banana’s flavor, so getting rid of it can leave your bananas bland and flavorless.
The liquid also adds more texture to your bananas, giving them a smooth and creamy consistency that makes them perfect in milkshakes and smoothies, along with other recipes like banana bread or in cereal.
How Long Do Bananas Last In The Freezer?
While we’ve already mentioned that you should use your frozen bananas within 3-6 months of freezing them, you can actually leave them in the freezer for longer than that.
In fact, there isn’t really any set time frame that you need to use them in, as they will stay safe to eat almost indefinitely once frozen.
Leaving your bananas in the freezer for an extended period of time past the 6-month guideline doesn’t come without consequences, however.
Keeping bananas in the freezer for too long can affect their quality, increasing the risk of issues such as freezer burn and causing them to lose their flavor.
Another thing to consider is that your bananas won’t get any riper once you’ve frozen them.
While freezing bananas will stop them from getting too ripe when they’re moving past their best, you need to let them become ripe in the first place!
Freezing your bananas before they’re ripe will leave them with a bitter taste and hard texture – so it’s important to make sure the bananas are ripe before freezing.
So although you can theoretically leave your frozen bananas in the freezer indefinitely, you should still use them within the 6-month guideline to enjoy them at their best.
And there you have it! Freezing bananas is a quick and simple way to keep your ripe bananas from becoming overripe and going to waste.
Using the easy methods in this guide, you can freeze your bananas properly to reduce the risk of issues like freezer burn, letting you enjoy your bananas to their full delicious potential.
So next time you have bananas that are starting to pass their best, don’t just throw them away; use the tips in this handy guide to freeze your bananas, and you can keep them ready to use whenever you want.