How to Ripen Bananas for Banana Bread

How to Ripen Bananas for Banana Bread

Ripe bananas are those that have turned from green to yellowish-yellow. They still have their firmness, but they also have a softer texture. But are they ready for baking banana bread or cake.

See our recipe for Upside-Down Banana Cake

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The best way to tell when a banana is ready is by looking at its skin. It should have a nice golden color and be soft enough to bend without breaking. If it feels firm and has a hard center, it’s not quite ready yet.

First off, let’s talk about ripeness. Bananas should always be perfectly ripe before they’re used for baking purposes. If not, then their texture won’t come out right and the taste will be not as good.

Prepare the bananas for caramelized banana cake
Prepare the bananas for caramelized banana cake

How Ripe Do Bananas Need to Be for Banana Bread

Ripe bananas are really essential when making rich and moist banana bread. 

Not only must be soft enough to mash but they need to be really rice – even brown (not moldy though) as it just helps the caramelization process when baking.

If your bananas are brown or even black then that is perfect.

When we used to run our commercial bakery we would buy boxes of bananas sometimes weeks ahead of time set them aside to let them ripen so we really have a continuous writing process going on.

So if you can plan ahead with your bananas maybe one week in advance and they will be perfect when you are ready to bake.

How Do You Quickly Ripen Banana
How Do You Quickly Ripen Banana

How bananas ripen

Bananas are tasty and nutritious fruits. We can eat them raw, frozen, or dried. Also, we use bananas to make juices and ice creams, banana breads, cakes, cookies, banana waffles, and banana shakes.

But how do they ripen up – 

All bananas require the hormone ethylene, produced by them themselves, for proper maturation. And from there you can devise ways to speed up the ripening process.

How to Quickly Ripen Bananas

I have been wanting to make banana bread for some time now, so when I saw that bananas were on sale, I decided to buy them. I had seen a recipe online that said to ripen the bananas by putting them in a paper bag with an apple. I thought that would work well, so I put my ripe bananas in a plastic bag with an apple inside. The next day, I checked to see if the bananas were ready and sure enough, they were soft and mushy.

How to ripen bananas in the oven

However, to ripen them quickly, like in 5-10 minutes start preheating your oven to around 375°F. Peel the bananas while the oven is preheating. Also prepare a baking tray with parchment paper on it. Place the peel bananas on the baking tray and place them into the oven for approximately five minutes or until you see them going brown. They are then ready to use in your banana bread recipe.

Different Ways to Ripen Bananas

Ripen bananas naturally.

Ripening bananas with a paper bag that’s one way to ripen bananas naturally and reasonably quickly because it will prep the natural gases and they will be ready in one or two days.

The other way is to buy them in advance and store them in an open plastic container in your pantry and in about about 5 to 7 days they will be ready for baking. This is the best way because the bananas are naturally ripened without speeding up the process artificially.

Can you Ripen Bananas in the Oven? 

Yes you can ripen bananas in the oven if you need to bake using bananas within the hour we’re not quite as good as naturally ripened bananas but they are good enough for most baking.

Can you use the microwave to ripen bananas?

Yes, you can use the microwave to ripen bananas. Start by using a sharp knife to create holes in the banana skin all over. Cover them with a paper towel and put them into the microwave for approximately 45 seconds. If they are not soft enough just repeat until you get them to the desired texture and I’ll be ready for baking.

How to Store Ripened Bananas

Ripe bananas can be stored in the fridge for a few days but any longer you are better to freeze them. Peel the bananas before freezing and then make sure they are in an airtight container. They will freeze well up to between 3 to 6 months.