So, you want to make some deliciously sweet and soft banana bread, banana pancakes, banana muffins, banana cake…. The list of possible banana goodies is pretty long…
But you can only find green underripe bananas in the grocery store / your fruit bowl. Not ideal!
Well, don’t worry my friend, these quick methods for ripening your green bunch of bananas will have you baking up a storm in no time.
Ripen your bananas and use them in your favourite recipes that call for fresh bananas.
🌱 The natural ripening process
Bananas that are unripe tend to be green on the outside. Their skin is really thick and the actual banana fruit on the inside has a relatively hard texture and isn’t very sweet.
This underripe banana is not your friend when it comes to baking.
The perfect time to use your bananas in baking is when they are very ripe, practically overripe. When I use bananas in my baking recipes, they're at the stage of ripeness that I'd normally think of as too ripe for eating - but maybe I'm a bit fussy!
How can you tell if your bananas are ripe?
Unpeeled ripe bananas are yellow, and this is a great time to eat them.
As the bananas ripen, they change from green to yellow and then they will start to show brown speckles and darken from yellow to brown. For baking, you want to use yellow speckled or brown / black bananas, instead of green or yellow skinned bananas.
Just a note, if your bananas are mouldy on the outside, that’s too far!
Naturally ripening your bananas at home
Your bananas will naturally ripen at home at room temperature without you having to do anything, but this takes the longest time. It is quicker if you keep them in a warm spot though.
Here we’ve got a few methods to help speed up the process! See below for the quickest way to ripen your green bananas via the oven method or the tastiest way to ripen your bananas via the bag method.
🍌 Fastest method – oven ripening
The fastest way to ripen your bananas at home is using the oven ripening method, which involves baking your unripe bananas on a low heat.
I’ve heard of others recommending using a microwave, but I’ve found that underripe bananas don’t tend to sweeten via the microwave method. However, oven-ripening had my green bananas turning softer AND slightly sweeter – a win-win!!
It’s important to note that although the oven-ripening method does sweeten your unripe bananas, it’s not quite as sweet as having the bananas ripen naturally or using the below paper bag method.
For this method, you’ll need access to an oven, baking tray and parchment paper or greaseproof paper to line your tray.
Note that the bananas can sometimes split in the oven, leaking a bit of juice, so you’ll want to line your baking sheet for non-stick and easier clean up.
To use this method, pre-heat your oven to 150oC / 130oC fan / Gas Mark 2 / 300oF.
Next, separate your bananas if they’re still in a bunch, and lay them on a lined baking sheet or tray. Bake the bananas for 15mins.
Your bananas will turn black on the outside, but be perfectly ripe inside. Allow them to cool, and use per the recipe.
For a more visual explanation, you can also check out my story on the oven banana ripening process.
How to ripen bananas
Rate this recipe here:
- Baking tray
- 1 banana (unripe)
- Pre-heat oven: 150oC / 130oC fan / Gas 2 / 300oF
- Using as many unripe bananas as needed, separate your bananas and lay them on a lined baking tray.
- Bake for 15mins until ripe and blackened, then allow to cool and use as per your recipe.
Nutritional information is an estimate based on an online nutritional calculator, actual values may vary.
🍌 Tastiest method – bag ripening
If you’ve got a bit more time on your hands, or don’t fancy using the oven method, you can also ripen your bananas using other ripe fruit and a brown paper bag. This is probably the best method to use if you're not in a rush.
This method works because you place your unripe bananas in an enclosed space with ripe fruits that are producing ethylene gas (also called ethene), such as ripe apples or bananas. Ethylene gas is a natural plant hormone that encourages unripe bananas to ripen.
If you’ve ever wondered why your fruit ripens quicker altogether, this is why!
It’s important to note that you can use a paper bag or if you don’t have one then a plastic bag will do, but you should poke a few holes in it to let out some of the moisture.
You should keep your bagged bananas in warm places for better results. I like to keep mine in a warm area such as besides a sunny window for quick ripening.
This method can take roughly 1-2 days to ripen your bananas. It isn’t as quick as the oven-ripening method, but it will give you sweeter bananas than the oven-ripening method, so is a great option if you have the time.
Bag ripening allows your bananas to develop better flavour, so your sweet treats will have more of a banana flavor using this method than the oven method.
Place your unripe bananas in a brown paper bag (or plastic bag with holes in) with a few ripe fruits such as apples or bananas.
Close your bag with the fruits inside and allow to sit at room temperature for 1-2days until your bananas have ripened. Check them once or twice a day to see if ready.
Once your bananas have ripened to sweet yellow bananas with brown spots or almost black, use per the recipe.
🍞 Using your ripened bananas
Once your bananas have been ripened via either of the above methods, you can use your bananas as normal per the baking recipes you’ve got in mind. You’ll need to peel your bananas for use, discarding the yellow or brown / black banana peel.
The inside of your ripened mushy bananas will be a soft texture, perfect for mashing into your batter for your sweet treat.
I’d definitely recommend one of my favourite banana bread recipes – a vegan banana nut loaf. It’s the ultimate banana bread recipe because it’s simple, quick and delicious!
Or why not give my best ever banana cake a try? It’s got chopped walnuts in the sponges for added texture and taste, and a delicious vanilla cream cheese frosting and chocolate ganache drip – perfect for an impressive birthday cake!
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