How to Quickly Freeze Ripe Bananas

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How to Freeze Bananas. Photo © Erin Huffstetler

Bananas may not cost much, but it's a shame to let them go to waste when they're so easy to freeze. Here's how to freeze them, so you can enjoy them later in bread, smoothies and other recipes.

How to Freeze a Whole Banana

Bananas are best frozen when they're ripe and the peel is just beginning to get brown spots. That's when bananas are at their sweetest. If you plan to use your bananas in smoothies or breads, freezing them whole is a good way to go.

To Freeze Whole Bananas:

  1. Peel each banana.
  2. Place them into a freezer-safe bag or container.
  3. Label the container with the date and contents.
  4. If you're using your bananas in smoothies, add them to the blender frozen. If you're using them to make breads, muffins or other baked goods, allow them to thaw completely before you add them to the other ingredients in your recipe.

Is It Important to Peel Bananas?

You can freeze bananas in the peel, but you'll save yourself some time and frustration, if you remove the peels before you freeze your bananas. 

When frozen, banana peels turn dark and get soft. While the bananas are still safe to eat when they're like this, it makes the peels very difficult to remove.

Leaving the peels intact will also diminish the quality of your bananas. They won't be as 'fresh' as they would be without the peel, and some people say it takes a month off the storage time.

So, go ahead and remove the peels now.

How to Freeze Banana Slices

If you aren't sure how you'll use your bananas yet, consider slicing them before you freeze them. This will make them easier to measure out by the cup (or whatever quantity your recipe calls for).

To Freeze Banana Slices:

  1. Peel each banana.
  2. Cut the bananas crosswise, creating 1/2-3/4-inch thick slices.
  3. Lay the banana slices out in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with wax paper. 
  4. Flash freeze for about two hours, or until the slices are solid.
  5. Then, transfer the frozen slices to a freezer-safe bag or container, and return to the freezer.
  6. Label the container with the date and contents.

Why Should You Flash-Freeze Bananas?

If you just throw your unfrozen banana slices in a freezer container and pop them in the freezer, they'll freeze together in one big clump, which will be difficult to break apart later. Flash freezing saves you this hassle because it allows the bananas to freeze as individual slices. So, when you need bananas for a recipe, you can just reach into the bag and pull out as much as you need -- no chiseling required.

If you want to save even more time and hassle, consider flash freezing your whole bananas, too.

How Long Will Bananas Keep in the Freezer?

Bananas will keep in the freezer indefinitely, but are best used within six to eight months. Over time, they'll develop freezer burn. . And with recommended storage times for all of your frozen foods.

Save Money by Freezing Bananas

Keep an eye out for reduced-price bananas at the grocery store, especially if you make a lot of smoothies. As easy as they are to freeze, it's smart to stock up when you find a good deal.

Make Banana Popsicles

For a special sweet treat, insert popsicle sticks into the end of whole (or half), peeled bananas. Then, dip them in melted chocolate (roll them in any toppings you'd like -- nuts, sprinkles, kosher salt, etc. -- and flash freeze them on a baking sheet. Once they're fully frozen, enjoy them just like you would any other popsicle. These are a great alternative to store-bought popsicles because they're made with real fruit and are a good source of potassium. Kids won't even realize they're eating something that's good for them, if you don't tell them.

Learn More About Freezing and Preserving Foods