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What to do With Over Ripe Bananas

Updated on November 4, 2016
A bunch of bananas, still ripening on the counter
A bunch of bananas, still ripening on the counter | Source

Bananas are a well known tropical fruit, high in potassium and a good source of fiber. They're relatively inexpensive, they come in their own wrapper (a nice thick peel) and they just happen to be delicious. Bananas are a kitchen staple, but there's one small problem. They taste best at the peak of freshness; which only lasts a few days.

Bananas are best purchased when they are yellow or slightly green. They'll ripen on a counter, and they ripen best with a banana that's slightly spotty sitting next to them. You'll know they're ready to eat when a fine sprinkling of brown spots appears on the skin, signalling that the carbs inside are turning to just the right amount of sugar. But watch out, because once they ripen, they ripen quickly. Before you know it, a banana or two will have ripened into a dark, spotty mess on your counter. There is a point when bananas are no longer remotely edible, and at that point the only thing you can possibly do is toss them in the compost heap or trash can. But if you catch them before then, between the 'nice and spotty' and 'pretty mushy' stage, you don't have to dispose of the delightful banana. Throwing bananas (or any other food) away is like throwing money away. You're disposing of pennies, quarters, dollars...hard work, fertilizer and the gas used to transport that banana from Ecuador to your refrigerator. The least you can do is find a way to use it. You have options. I'm here to outline them for you.

Bake 'em

If you can't eat them, bake them. The easiest way to use up a mess of over ripe bananas is to mash them up and make banana bread. There are plenty of recipes, here on hubpages, all over the internet and probably in your own handy-dandy recipe file. Choose your favorite recipe, pull out the masher or potato ricer and get baking.

If banana bread isn't your thing, or you don't have enough bananas for your favorite recipe, try mashing up a banana and adding it to your morning pancakes or waffles. It isn't quite banana bread, but it adds a new flavor and a bit of variety to your morning.

Not in the mood to eat them just now? Banana bread stores well in the freezer, just cool it off and wrap it up. Banana pancakes can be frozen, too. Freeze them in a single layer on a cookie sheet, then tuck them into a freezer storage bag and seal them up with as little air as possible. Toast them up later, or just defrost and enjoy. (my kids like them still frozen)

Sandwich Style

Elvis Presley's favorite late night snack was rumored to be a fried peanut butter sandwich. Slightly over ripe bananas are the perfect addition for this sinful treat. Make a peanut butter sandwich, slathering two slices of bread with nut butter. For better browning, you can use butter on the outside of the bread. Slice up your over ripe banana and spread it out on one side of the bread, on top of the peanut butter. Top with the other. Heat a lightly oiled skillet up over medium heat and brown both sides of the sandwich. Dust with powdered sugar for serving. Enjoy!

Banana Fritters

A few years ago, I explored the Specific Carb Diet. One of the best discoveries I made was a new recipe for what they called banana pancakes. The end result is creamier than normal' pancakes, and really not breadlike at all. They are gluten free, and casein free, ideal for a grain free diet. But they are delicious, once you get the hang of cooking them. They work well in a waffle maker, too. My adaptation is below. Cook them at a lower setting for a little longer than you expect to need to. They need to cook all the way through without burning.

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 slightly over ripe banana
  • Optional: a tsp nut butter
  • Season with nutmeg and cinnamon to taste

Beat the eggs really well. Incorporate the banana and nut butter. Heat oil in a frying pan on a Low/med setting. Drop a Tbs of batter in and cook until set, maybe a moment or two more, until you can easily flip them without making scrambled egg-banana mush. Flip. Cook until done. Repeat. Serve with yoghurt or nut butter. (Syrup will be a little too rich) This recipe only really serves one, maybe two as a side dish.

How to Freeze Bananas

Frozen bananas for later use are easier than most people imagine. Peel the banana first, because it's hard to get that frozen peel off. Then break it into 4-5 chunks and seal in a freezer bag, taking care to try and press most of the air out. It will discolor somewhat, and may form ice crystals. Either of these visual changes are fine, They'll keep for at least 6 months. You can open the bag and add more as they over ripen. We also add extra banana halves from breakfast cereal toppings and snacking.

Bananas should be peeled, quartered, and frozen in a plastic freezer bag to prevent oxidation and freezer burn.
Bananas should be peeled, quartered, and frozen in a plastic freezer bag to prevent oxidation and freezer burn. | Source

Freeze 'em

If you're in the mood for a smoothie, shake or ice cream, go ahead and toss those overripened bananas into the blender with your favorite ingredients. But odds are, you won't ntice those brown bananas until after your sweet tooth is satisfied. Or you'll be in a smoothie mood, with no bananas in sight. Instead of using fresh bananas in that blender, keep a stash of frozen bananas in your freezer. Freezing bananas is simple, and you can just add to your stash whenever you find yourself with bananas that are past the stage of prime eating.

When you are ready for a smoothie, you can pull out your frozen stash, break off a few chunks, and toss them in the blender with your favorite combination of ingredients. Not sure what you like? Here are a few of my family's favorite combinations. We have a personal blender (The Magic Bullet), for individual servings, so we just add a few pieces of each ingredient and eyeball it, depending on our moods. If we find it needs more of something, we can always screw the lid back on and keep blending. For each serving, we use 2 chunks of banana or about half of one, unless we want it extra creamy or banana-y.

  • Bananas, frozen pineapple chunks, frozen strawberries with milk (rice milk)
  • orange juice, vanilla ice cream and (opt.) frozen banana chunks
  • Bananas, blueberries and juice
  • Bananas, a few TBS of pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice and vanilla rice milk
  • Bananas, watermelon and juice
  • Bananas, extra bananas and chocolate milk (Frozen bananas make it nice and creamy. Instead of just a lot of banana, you could use ice cream, too)
  • Bananas, strawberries, yoghurt and juice or milk

Experiment with your own favorite frozen fruits. The frozen bananas make the smoothies nice and creamy, even without additional yoghurt or ice cream. As a food allergy family, we tend to use nondairy varieties of ice cream and yoghurt, and our milk of choice is rice milk. I expect the original forms to work well, too.

What's your favorite thing to do with over ripe bananas?

See results

Freeze Them Some More

Maybe you're just in the mood for frozen bananas. You don't have to use them as ingredients. If your bananas are just barely over ripe, you can use them for a decadent dessert. Melt some chocolate, add a splash of orange juice. Break the banana in half. Dip it in, and coat with the melted chocolate. Then roll in your favorite toppings, cereal, cookie crumbs, peanut butter chips, etc. Place on wax paper. You can put a skewer or straw in the bottom if you want, for easier eating later. Stick them in the freezer and they'll be ready to eat in a few hours.

Wear Them

That's right, bananas aren't just for eating anymore. It turns out that they make a great addition to your beauty routine. You can use leftover bananas up by turning them into a homemade facial. Your skin will thank you. And the bonus? You won't only be saving money by not throwing away perfectly good (but over ripe) bananas, you won't have to buy an expensive store concoction to augment your beauty routine. How can you lose?


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    • profile image

      Veronica Watters 

      9 months ago from Dublin Ireland

      How do you make banana bread please

    • Zombie-Gamer profile image

      Elaine Byers 

      14 months ago

      I love making banana tea bread it's so good especially if you add walnuts and raisins!

    • the girls profile image

      Theresa Ventu 

      6 years ago from Los Angeles, California

      There are many varieties of bananas. Others you can cook ( fry or bake) and others are the best desserts by itself or blended with others. One of my best fruits and as suggested, my future beauty tool. Voted up!

    • eatforcheaper profile image


      7 years ago from London

      Excellent hub about one of my fave fruits! Freezing is one thing I never knew that could be done with bananas - thanks :)

    • msviolets profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      Ruby and teaches; have you ever tried adding a tablespoon of peanut butter to a banana smoothie? Yum! (My kids disagree, but they aren't big on peanut butter to begin with) Thanks for stopping by!

    • Ruby H Rose profile image

      Maree Michael Martin 

      7 years ago from Northwest Washington on an Island

      We eat bananas all the time, they are so good for you. We like them on the greener side too, so knowing about all these other things to do with them when they ripen is a plus. I get real tired of making bread all the time. I love your smoothie recipe. We have been making different varieties, they are so yummy. But now, thank you, I too, am craving a banana and peanut butter on whole wheat bread. Great hub.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      7 years ago

      I have been craving peanut butter and bananas; and so, when I read your hub it requires I follow through with this tonight. Like me, most of the people voted on your poll, that they use ripe bananas to make bread. I didn't know that you could freeze them and I will take advantage of this idea. We do eat a lot of bananas for the potassium and health benefits. This is a great hub topic. Voted up!

    • Ciel Clark profile image

      Ciel Clark 

      7 years ago from USA

      Oh, classic. I bet the store doesn't get too many requests for overripe bananas!

    • msviolets profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      Ciel; now that we use bananas for smoothies we never forget about them...we've even gone looking for ripe bananas to buy when we've run out of frozen overripe ones!

    • Ciel Clark profile image

      Ciel Clark 

      7 years ago from USA

      freezing bananas is great! I just have to remember to get them out and use them:)

    • msviolets profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      Green bananas just don't appeal to me, LOL (Just as I'm sure the spotted ones don't appeal to you!) I'll have to try baking up some prefrozen bananas; do you use the same method as for smoothies or do you mash them up before freezing?

    • Maddie Ruud profile image

      Maddie Ruud 

      7 years ago from Oakland, CA

      I only like my bananas when they're still slightly green, so I'm always left with some that are too ripe to eat. I generally freeze them and then use for baking as needed!

    • thebiologyofleah profile image

      Leah Kennedy-Jangraw 

      7 years ago from Massachusetts

      Nice hub, great information and in general a good reminder to try and use everything up we buy. Great recipes- thanks for sharing!

    • lucybell21 profile image

      Bonny OBrien 

      7 years ago from Troy, N.Y.

      Bananas are one of my favorite fruits. I only buy a few at a time for myself. I do like using ripe one in smoothies with yogurt. Great hub. Voted up.

    • twoseven profile image


      7 years ago from Madison, Wisconsin

      Great hub! I always seem to end up with overripe bananas, and I was never sure how to best freeze them for later until now. Thanks for the great description and helpful picture.

    • Millionaire Tips profile image

      Shasta Matova 

      7 years ago from USA

      Bananas are very versatile. We like to eat them just before the little brown specks appear. Dr. Oz said they make a great sugar substitute (just cut the sugar in half and use the banana for the other half).

    • msviolets profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      Rob, that sounds delicious! I agree, bananas can be a very versatile fruit! Thanks for stopping by!

    • rob_allen profile image


      7 years ago from MNL, PH

      Here, you can do so many things with bananas. Bananas are very common here in the Philippines and these are one of our favorite snacks that can be found in the streets. Basically, they just drench it into a pool of brown sugar and deep fry it in hot oil. Then, they are placed in bamboo skewers and you have a yummy 'Banana-Cue"


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