If you learn how to freeze bananas, then you won’t have to throw them away when they become overripe and spotty. Frozen bananas can be eaten directly as a healthy snack. They can also be used to make a wide variety of smoothies, pastries, and as extra ingredients for certain dishes.
Here is how you can freeze bananas and preserve them for future use.
Can You Freeze Bananas?
Of course you can! You may have even seen pre-packaged frozen bananas in the supermarket, but it’s cheaper for you to do it yourself. Plus, if you do everything correctly, homemade frozen bananas are better quality-wise and healthier, too.
1. How Long Do Frozen Bananas Last?
Fresh bananas don’t last for a very long time, which is a huge shame. When they are left on the counter in the open air, they typically only last between 2 to 7 days. Refrigerated bananas last longer, between 2 to 9 days.
As your bananas turn overripe, consider freezing them to keep them for longer.
According to the FDA’s FoodKeeper program, frozen bananas can last between 2 to 3 months. However, when stored properly, you can keep them around for up to 6 months.
After 6 months, though, they usually turn an unappealing black color. At this point, you should just discard them.
2. Can You Freeze Mashed Banana?
Absolutely. You can freeze and store mashed banana in any kind of freezer-safe container. A Ziploc bag or a plastic container, for example, is perfect for this purpose.
3. How Long Does It Take?
This depends on the state of the bananas when you put them into the freezer.
Whole bananas can take around an hour to fully freeze.
Meanwhile, sliced bananas and mashed bananas are quicker to freeze and will only need around 30 minutes in the freezer.
What Kind of Banana Can You Freeze?
The breed of the banana is not important. Any kind you have at hand will work. The important thing to look for here is the ripeness.
Once bananas have been frozen, they will not ripen anymore. As a result, you should let them overripe before you attempt to freeze them.
Though overripe bananas sound like a bad thing, it’s actually not. Most of the starch in an overripe banana will have already been converted into sugar. Thus, they will be sweeter.
If you plan to use your frozen bananas for baking, the natural sweetness of the bananas will be a huge advantage. It can reduce the amount of sugar you have to use in your recipe.
The Best Way To Freeze Bananas
Freezing bananas is easy. Though we will be discussing four methods in today’s guide, the freezing process is virtually the same, the only difference being the form of the bananas, i.e.,: sliced, in chunks, whole, or mashed.
Depending on what you plan on doing with your frozen bananas, take your pick accordingly.
1. Freeze Sliced Bananas for Smoothie
Frozen sliced bananas are excellent for smoothies. Due to their smaller sizes, sliced bananas are easier to liquefy in a blender than whole or chunky bananas.
The first thing to do is to peel the bananas. Then, with a sharp knife, cut them into thick slices. You can cut them into whatever size you want. The size of the slices doesn’t really matter a whole lot.
Take out a freezer-safe plate or a baking sheet lined with parchment. Arrange the banana slices in a single layer on top.
Put the bananas into the freeze for about two hours.
Afterward, take them out and put them into a resealable plastic bag or a container. Remember to stick a label on top specifying the contents and date.
2. Freeze Bananas in Large Chunks
A lot of baking recipes call for the use of mashed bananas. However, if you don’t want to spend the effort to make frozen mashed bananas, you can do this, instead. Just freeze the bananas in large chunks and mash them down when you actually need to use them.
As with the previous method, peel and slice your bananas. This time, though, cut each banana either in halves or three to four large chunks.
Put them into a resealable plastic bag or container and throw them into the freezer for two to three hours. Check on the bananas after this time has elapsed. Label them carefully, then place them back into the freezer for long-term storage.
3. Bananas Whole
Freezing whole bananas is very simple. You don’t need to peel or slice the bananas, neither do you need a container.
Put the whole banana (unpeeled) into the freezer. The outer skin of the banana serves as a natural container for the fruit within.
If you have an entire hand of bananas and you want to freeze them all, put everything into the freezer.
4. Mashed Bananas
Frozen mashed bananas, while they take the most effort to make, pay dividends later down the line.
As we mentioned earlier, many banana-related recipes call for the use of mashed bananas. So if you already have mashed bananas prepared, you can use them right away. No need to spend extra time mashing them up.
Peel the bananas and mash them up. Take care not to turn them into a puree. You will want the mashed bananas to have a semi-solid consistency when you freeze them.
Once mashed, gather the mash and put them into a resealable plastic bag. Squeeze the bag to push the excess air out.
Put the bags into the freezer and freeze them flat. It should take around 2 hours for the mashed bananas to fully freeze.
Once they do, label the bags and store in the freezer.
How To Freeze-Dry Bananas
Freeze-dried bananas are gradually gaining popularity. Unlike frozen bananas, they can be stored for years without any significant loss to their nutritional content.
1. What Are Freeze-Dried Bananas?
Freeze-dried bananas are bananas that have been frozen at a very low temperature in a vacuum. When the process is complete, the water content of the bananas can drop to as low as 2%.
With most of the moisture removed, the overall weight of the bananas is reduced, too. As much as 70% of the original weight of the bananas will be lost.
With most of the water removed, bacteria are unable to grow. This explains why freeze-dried bananas can last for years without spoiling.
2. How to Freeze-Dry Bananas at Home
If you want to freeze dry anything, you will typically need a special freeze dryer. However, not everyone has the money to spare for such a machine.
Fortunately, there is a cheaper alternative: dry ice.
What Is Dry Ice?
Dry ice is extremely cold (-109°F), which is perfect for flash freezing.
Unlike normal ice, dry ice doesn’t melt into liquid. Instead, through a process called sublimation, it turns directly into gas. That is the reason why blocks of dry ice release white smoke when left out in the open.
When dry ice sublimates, it draws out a lot of moisture from the surrounding environment. If you were to put dry ice on bananas, it would suck out their moisture, which explains why it is called “dry”.
Because of dry ice’s low temperature, exercise caution while handling it. If dry ice makes contact with your bare skin, it can immediately cause cold burns. Thus, wear safety gloves.
When dry ice sublimates, it releases Carbon Dioxide (CO2) gas, which can cause asphyxiation. Therefore, only freeze dry in a well-ventilated area.
Leave the area immediately if you feel light-headed, nauseous, or have trouble breathing. Those are all symptoms of CO2 poisoning and a sign that you have inhaled too much dry ice fumes.
If you have young children at home, bar them from entering the room. Consumption or inhalation of dry ice can be lethal.
Peel and pack your bananas into resealable plastic bags. Do not seal the bags. This will allow the dry ice to suck out the moisture.
Put them all into a portable cooler. Then, pack the cooler with dry ice in a 1:1 dry ice to fruit ratio. For example, 1 pound of bananas together with 1 pound of dry ice, and so on.
Do not close the lid of the cooler while the dry ice is still fuming. If you were to close the cooler and the excess gas cannot be vented, your cooler may explode.
It should take around a day for the bananas to be freeze dried. The process can be considered complete when all of the dry ice is gone.
Now that you know how to freeze bananas, go ahead and put some in the freezer! You will be glad that you did later down the line.
Luna Regina is an accomplished writer and author who dedicates her career to empowering home cooks and making cooking effortless for everyone. She is the founder of HealthyKitchen101.com and HealthyRecipes101.com, where she works with her team to develop easy, nutritious recipes and help aspiring cooks choose the right kitchen appliances.