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How to Quickly Ripen Bananas for Banana Bread

Updated on May 29, 2012

Ripening Bananas

The warm smell of the bread baking on a stormy afternoon can lift your spirits and make you feel cozy. Instead of wasting food, you can create a soft, delicious treat that will make your family feel loved. Personally, my children get excited to see bananas starting to ripen!

Do you have green bananas sitting in your kitchen and want to make banana bread sooner than it will take for them to ripen on their own? That's okay; there are a few tips for speeding up the ripening process a little.

  • Refrigerating bananas is never a good idea if you have any intention on them ripening for banana bread and other baked goods. Getting fruit that cold only stunts the process that takes place for fruit to ripen and will end up giving you a challenge later on.
  • You need to find a good place for them to ripen. The best place to ripen fruit quickly is a warm place; say a sunny window, next to a wood stove, or even inside a lowly heated oven (300 degrees or so should be fine).
  • A paper bag is also a good place for bananas to ripen. Adding a ripe apple will give even better results. Fruit likes friends to ripen with. Leave your bananas in a bunch for the quickest ripening results.
  • Keep an eye on your bananas. Check them every few hours. The browner they are the sweeter and more flavorful your bread will turn out. Not to mention how easy it will be to mush them up to start baking.

Is Using Ripe Bananas for Banana Bread Important?

Using ripe bananas for banana bread is essential for multiple reasons. Actually, over-ripe bananas are even better. Once the peel is so brown that you don’t even have to peel the banana, you just crack it open and the mushy banana flows out the crack, that’s the perfect state of a banana for banana bread. The softer and sweeter a banana is, the better your bread is going to taste, and the riper the banana is, the softer and sweet it is going to be.

Fruit Ripening

At this point you may be wondering, what actually causes fruit to ripen? How is that we can speed up the process by doing these simple things?

When fruits are picked, they are still a living, breathing thing, much like the plants they come from. The ripening process is caused by something called “ethylene”. This is an airborne hormone and a hydrocarbon gas produced with the ripening of a fruit. It is the cue for the enzymes of said fruit to being ripening. Putting the fruit in a paper bag with other fruit is so effective because the ethylene is nearly trapped, while oxygen can still find its way in. Each of the fruits even has a sense to detect ethylene being produced, which is how fruits help each other ripen. And a very ripe fruit can make other fruits ripen much faster because they are already producing the ethylene and enzymes, giving other fruits nearby the cue to follow suit.

In a way, fruits are like a group of rebellious teenagers, once one goes bad, they all go bad, but they have the lurking potential for something great. With a little time and/or help, they can turn into something better than you imagined, much like a sweet fruit, or delicious bread.


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    • charmike4 profile image

      Michael Kromwyk 5 years ago from Adelaide, South Australia

      Great tips - usually bananas go black in our house quite quickly, but if we just got to have banana bread at least I know how to make them ripe!

    • Cheds profile image

      Heather Henley 5 years ago from Buckfield, Maine


    • sofs profile image

      sofs 5 years ago

      Great tips Cheds! Way to go.. Best wishes to you!

    • theraggededge profile image

      Bev G 5 years ago from Wales, UK

      Mmm... banana bread. Thanks for these tips.