Keeping Bananas Fresh Is Easier Than You Think

We've all done it at least once. Bought a bundle of bananas, set them down somewhere in the kitchen, and then threw them away in a mushy state 10 days later. Unless you're planning to make a banana bread recipe, it can be frustrating to have your bananas become too ripe too soon, or worse, to have them rot.

According to Dole, keeping your bananas cool and away from direct sunlight will lengthen the ripening process. The ideal temperature is about 53 degrees Fahrenheit. If you store them in a warm area, or if you forget to remove them from that plastic grocery bag you brought them home in, they will ripen faster.

While Dole says you can keep your bananas in the refrigerator to keep them fresh (if they're already ripe), this may not be convenient if your fridge is packed with other foods. So what other feasible options are there? There's one hack to keep your bananas fresh that's easier than you think, and it involves something you probably already have in your kitchen.

It starts in the stems

What causes bananas to ripen so fast in the first place? Bananas naturally release a gas called ethylene, which triggers the ripening process and causes the acids in them to break down. As a result, the bananas soften and change color from green to yellow, but the storage method ultimately determines how fast this change occurs.

Knowing where bananas release ethylene gas is important when considering how to keep them fresh. The gas is emitted through the stems of bananas, but you can actually stop this emission process with an easy trick. Simply cover the stems with plastic wrap. Business Insider states that this will help them stay fresh longer.

Are you wondering what kind of plastic wrap you should use? The best option is the kind that clings well to the food to create a tight seal. But if the one you have isn't clinging to the stems very well, you can use a tie or elastic to better secure the plastic and eliminate gaps.

Another thing to consider is whether or not to separate the bananas before wrapping them. While both methods are effective and will keep your bananas fresh for several days longer than without plastic, individually wrapping the stems will keep them fresh for a little longer (via Food52).