Three Quick Tips to Ripen Bananas
Ah, the banana. It's the simplest of snacks with its self-contained, eco-friendly natural packaging. But timing the ripening of this cheery fruit requires some planning that most every other item in the produce department doesn't need.
Here's why: Bananas are rarely perfectly ripe when you buy them at the supermarket. This is not an accident. Un many fruits and vegetables, bananas actually continue to ripen after picking, so a banana that's fresh before it even reaches the grocery store would become overripe much too quickly for most shoppers' tastes.
But what do you do with that rock-hard fruit if you want a perfectly ripe banana right now? And what if you're craving banana muffins, but the bananas at the store still light yellow, or edged with green? Here are some tricks for ripening your bananas faster than nature intended.
Have a Day or More? Try The Paper Bag Technique
As bananas ripen naturally, the peels give off ethylene gas. The higher the concentration of ethylene in the air surrounding the banana, the faster it will ripen. Commercial banana producers use ethylene gas to control ripening in order to send bananas to retailers at specific stages of ripeness.
You can take advantage of ethylene's ripening properties at home by putting your banana into a closed paper bag; the paper will trap ethylene while letting in enough oxygen to help move the process along.
For even faster ripening, add an apple, pear, apricot, or avocado—they also release ethylene. However, do not to keep the bananas in plastic bag, which doesn't let in enough oxygen and can actually inhibit ripening.
That's why the bananas at your store are often bagged in plastic, to keep them from ripening too soon.
Depending on how under-ripe your bananas were to start with, paper-bag ripening will take 1-3 days; putting the bag on top of your fridge or another warm location can speed it up even more. Check them daily, and when the bananas are firm and bright yellow with no trace of green, they're good for eating raw. Once brown spots start to appear, you can use them for baking.
Have a Few Hours? Bake Them in the Oven
What if you want to make banana bread today, not in two or three days? To speed-ripen bananas in the oven, preheat the oven to 300 degrees and line a baking sheet with silicone or parchment (the bananas may leak a little during baking).
Place unpeeled bananas on the baking sheet with some space between them, and bake for about half an hour, checking every 15 minutes to see if they're soft enough. The more under-ripe they are to start with, the longer it will take to ripen them.
The peels will turn black, and the fruit will be soft—too mushy for eating raw, but great for baking. Let them cool before handling.
Have Just a Few Minutes? Pop Them in the Microwave
You can zap firm yellow bananas to soft ripeness in just a few minutes.
Poke unpeeled bananas all over with a fork or knife, then put them on a paper towel or plate and microwave on high for 30 seconds at a time, repeating until they're as soft as you want them.
They won't be quite as sweet as the oven-ripened versions, but they'll be mashable for your muffins and quick breads.
Now that your bananas are ripe and ready, try one of these recipes:
Best Banana Bread ~Sweet & Savory
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Why make one when you can easily make two? This ridiculously easy, one-bowl basic banana bread recipe is the only recipe you’ll ever need!
Read on for my secret to the moistest and flavorful banana bread.
First of, a quick disclaimer. I try to stay away from claiming any of my recipes the best of the best. Honestly, there can be many variations of THE BEST of anything, right?
Well anyway, this basic banana bread recipe is the best though! Moist and tender, flavorful and nutty! It’s been our family favorite for quite a while now.
The ingredients are super simple. Just sugar, butter, flour, egg, you know, the basics. And you don’t even need a mixer for this recipe, just good ol’ wooden spoon will do here.
So what makes this basic banana bread recipe so special?
Now, the secret to the moistest banana bread is frozen bananas. Of course, every banana bread recipe calls for over-ripe banana, and while it’s definitely key, I find frozen over-ripe bananas turns already good banana bread into i-can’t-stop-eating-kind of banana bread!
Because defrosted bananas get super mushy and liquidy, and all that flavorful liquid is gold! It makes the bread moist and flavorful.
So, here’s how I deal with frozen bananas.
Ideally, you want to peel and freeze your bananas, when they get dark spots all over. And when you get the craving, they’re ready to go. However, that never happens around here.
It seems those bananas ripen at most inconveniently busy times (read: lazy times) that I simply throw them into the freezer, peels and all! So whenever I’m in banana bread mood, I take those frozen bananas out and hold it under hot tap water to soften a bit, and then peel them and put them in a microwave safe bowl and zip it in a microwave until they’re completely defrosted and practically liquid. Sounds a lot of work? Nah, it’s not really that bad, and for that amazing banana bread, you won’t even mind it!
Did I mention you don’t need a mixer for this?
Get your bowl and wooden spoon out! Let’s get baking!
Also, this’s just a basic banana bread recipe, which means you get to customize it to your own liking. Chocolate chips or chopped chocolates, dried fruits, different nuts, whatever your heart desires! As you can imagine, I often add chocolate in mine.
Hope you enjoy! Thanks for reading.
Yield: 2 loaves
Prep Time:10 min
Cook Time:60 min
Total Time:70 min
- 8 frozen medium-to-large bananas (or 3.5-4 cups of mashed bananas), thawed
- 1 ½ cups (300gr) sugar
- ½ cup (115gr) unsalted butter, melted
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 3 cups (375gr) all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1- 1 ½ cups (120-180gr) chopped pecans, optional
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C).
- Prepare two 9×5-inch bread pan and spray with non-sticl spray.
- In a large bowl, mash the thawed bananas with a fork or potato masher.
- Add sugar, melted butter and vanilla extract, and mix everything until combined.
- Stir in eggs.
- Then add flour, baking soda and salt.
Mix to combine.
- Add pecans and/or other add-ins, chocolate chips, dried fruits.
- Divide the batter evenly into the prepared pans.
- Bake for 60 minutes, or until the inserted toothpick comes out clean.
- Cool completely before serving.
- Keep the banana bread in the bread pan, covered tightly, in the fridge for up to 3 days.
For step-by-step photos and additional notes, read the post above.
All images and text ©Shinee D. for Sweet & Savory
All photographs and content on Sweet & Savory by Shinee is copyright protected, unless otherwise noted. Please do not use any of my photos without my authorization. If you would to share my recipe, you may re-write the recipe in your own words, or simply link back to this post for the full directions. Thank you for your cooperation!
This post was originally published on February 13th, 2013.
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How to Perfect Banana Bread, From Toppings to Temperature
Written by Tiffany La Forge on December 17, 2019
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Banana bread is a classic.
It’s such a classic that you ly already have your go-to recipe. Maybe it’s from a parent, grandparent, great aunt, neighbor, or your favorite blogger.
It comes out perfect every time.
But maybe you want to mix things up a bit and create a banana bread recipe that’s entirely your own. We’ve got you.
Whether you’re a novice or a pro, here’s the 411 on making the best banana bread ever — from the perfect bananas to the make-it-your-own mix-ins, to the best baking tips.
We’re sure you know the golden rule: ripe bananas make the best banana bread.
And basically, the riper the better. The blacker the banana is, the sweeter it is — ensuring your bread has the most pronounced “banana-y” flavor. Just make sure the fruit hasn’t actually gone rotten.
This makes banana bread the perfect use for those overripe bananas that have been sitting on your counter way too long. Or, even better, buy super ripe bananas from the start (bonus: they’re usually on sale).
Buy “dessert” bananas
Any “dessert” banana — a banana that is eaten raw as opposed to one you would cook (such as plantains) — works for banana bread.
It’s ly you’re going to use the most commonly found U.S. supermarket banana: Cavendish. But if you spy “baby” bananas, such as Lady Finger or Manzano (apple bananas), those will work lovely too. These bananas are sweet and fruity with a creamy flesh.
Organic or conventional? This is up to your preference — as when it comes to pesticides and peels, bananas aren’t on the list for serious contamination. The most important thing is to not break the golden rule: use only the ripest bananas.
Don’t have any overripe bananas around, but are craving banana bread? Here’s how to take those yellow bananas from pass to a banana bread-worthy yaaas.
The paper bag method
If you have some time on your hands, the paper bag method will have your bananas ripe in just a few days. Place bananas in a brown paper bag with either an apple or an already overly ripe banana.
This will trap the ethylene gas they are producing, speeding up the ripening process.
The oven method
To get ripe bananas STAT, the oven method works a dream. Bake unpeeled bananas at 300°F (148°C) on a baking sheet until black, about 15 to 20 minutes. Let the bananas cool, peel them, and you’re good to go.
Most banana bread recipes call for all-purpose white flour. But the truth is you can make banana bread with many different flours or combination of.
- All-purpose flour. The most common flour.
- Cake flour. This can be used in combination with all-purpose to create a lighter bread.
- Whole-wheat flour. Banana bread can be made entirely with whole wheat flour or a combination of whole-wheat and white flour. Note that all whole-wheat flour will make a denser bread.
- Gluten-free flour. Any 1:1 gluten-free flour blend can replace all-purpose flour in your favorite recipe.
- Other flours. Almond, coconut, oat, buckwheat, or other flours can be used. If you’re using looking at a recipe that doesn’t include other flours, you’ll need to alter or experiment — plus failed banana breads can be turned into other foods!
What’s the Best Bread for Diabetes? Hint: It’s a No-Grainer
Most recipes use white sugar or a combination of white and (dark or light) brown sugar. Using all brown sugar will create a darker colored bread with more of a molasses flavor. Coconut sugar can typically replace white sugar 1:1.
But other sugars, such as honey and maple syrup, work very well in banana bread, imparting sweetness and flavor while keeping the bread moist. You can replace every 1 cup of white or brown sugar with 1/2 cup of honey or maple syrup.
The key to ensuring a moist banana bread is fat. This varies by recipe and can be achieved in many different ways.
Some common fats in banana breads include:
- vegetable oil
- olive oil
- coconut oil
- sour cream
- Use sour cream or applesauce in your recipe, two ingredients known to produce moist baked goods.
- Don’t overmix the batter.
- Don’t overbake.
- Banana bread made with oil tends to be more moist than bread made with butter.
- Measure ingredients accurately, and by weight if you can. Incorrect dry ingredients ( flour) will make the bread more, well, dry.
Who says you have to follow a recipe? Take inspiration from your pantry and play with an endless variety of mix-ins and combinations.
- nuts or nut butter
- seeds (pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, flaxseed, etc.)
- chocolate chips (white, dark, semisweet, or milk)
- toffee pieces
- butterscotch chips
- citrus zest
- spices (cinnamon, pumpkin spice, cardamom, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, etc.)
- espresso powder
- dried fruits
- fresh fruits
- extracts (vanilla, almond, orange)
This is completely up to your preference, and obviously if you’re allergic, skip this step. But nuts can give banana bread an unforgettable excellent texture and flavor.
Pecans and walnuts are the most popular choices, but we say experiment with hazelnuts, almonds, pistachios, macadamia nuts, or pine nuts too!
Make sure nuts are chopped so they’re lighter. Coat any mix-ins (nuts, dried fruit, chocolate chips) in a very small amount of flour before adding into the batter to prevent sinking.
Two methods can be used for mixing banana bread: the creaming method or the stirring method. The creaming method (creaming butter with sugar until lightened) is used for recipes that contain butter, while the stirring method is used for recipes that use oil.
Whichever method you use, don’t overmix your ingredients! The more you mix, the more gluten develops, which makes for a chewy, rubbery bread. If you’re unsure, stop the mixer and fold with a spatula by hand.
Almost all banana bread is baked in an oven that is between 325°F (163°C) and 350°F (177°C) for about an hour on average.
Follow these tips to ensure perfectly baked banana bread:
- Grease and flour the baking pan very well.
- Do not open the oven during baking unless you have to.
- If your banana bread is browning too much or too quickly, lightly tent the top with foil while baking.
- Use light-colored metal pans, preferably aluminum.
- Make sure you preheat your oven completely to the correct temperature.
- Use a toothpick to test done-ness (it’ll come out clean with a poke).
Toasted: Banana bread can be toasted in the oven or toaster. You can even grill it!
Warmed: Heat banana bread in the microwave for 30 to 45 seconds. Hit it with another 10 if your microwave is being finicky.
The best banana bread is delicious as is. No need to get fancy, but sometimes getting a little extra is all you’ll want to do. So, if you’re all about indulging in that mouthfeel, here’s the best ways to top your toast: