Are you wondering how ripe bananas should be for banana bread? Or, can I use a banana that doesn't have very much brown to make the perfect loaf? And, how do I quickly ripen bananas to bake with? I cover it all here!
Takeaway: I can tell you right now the browner the better for banana muffins or any banana loaf, but read to learn my tried and true trick to ripen your banana the best way, and discover what makes bananas ripen slower or faster!
Why do I want a Brown Banana for Banana Bread?
Overripe brown bananas are softer making them easier to mash, but more importantly, they taste much bolder, truly more banana flavor and they are sweeter!
- Why do I want a Brown Banana for Banana Bread?
- The Ripening Process of a Banana
- Nutrition: A Green Banana vs A Yellow Banana
- Is My Banana Ripe Enough? How To Quickly Ripen it!
- Other Ways to Ripen Bananas
- Is my banana too ripe to make banana bread with?
- How to Slow the Ripening of Bananas
- How to Freeze Ripe Bananas for Baking with Later
- Can I use Frozen Bananas for Banana Bread?
- Top Banana Recipes
- Danika Vanderpyl, C.H.N.
The Ripening Process of a Banana
This photo from my kitchen shows the stages of a ripening banana.
Green: Very unripe bananas
Some green spots: Slightly underripe bananas
Yellow with no green spots: Perfectly ripe
Yellow with brown and black spots: Riper Bananas
Overripe: More dark spots and bruises than yellow parts, this is perfect banana bread bananas!
Nutrition: A Green Banana vs A Yellow Banana
- From Starch to Sugar: Because green bananas contain more resistant starch (a type of complex carbohydrate) the body struggles to easily digest them. Then as bananas ripen, the resistant starch becomes much simpler sugars like glucose, fructose, and sucrose which your body can use easily.
- Blood Sugar Levels: Because brown and black bananas do contain more sugars, they have a higher glycemic index or GI. Therefore less ripe bananas have a higher content of resistant starch, which means they will have a slower impact on blood sugar levels.
- Nutrient Levels & Antioxidants: Most vitamins and minerals are constantly the same in ripe and unripe bananas however, vitamin C can decrease as it ripens, and antioxidants can decrease with ripening!
Is My Banana Ripe Enough? How To Quickly Ripen it!
For banana bread you want overripe bananas with dark spots, think more brown than yellow. These are the best bananas because they are sweeter, softer, and have better flavor.
Quickest Way To Ripen Bananas - Oven Method: This has been my trick for years if I want to make banana bread right away and I only have perfectly yellow or underripe bananas! If you follow this easy way to bake them, it releases the sweet flavor that makes the perfect loaf of banana bread.
Step #1: Start by preheating the oven to make banana bread, place the unpeeled bananas on a baking sheet.
Step #2: Place the pan in the oven, the baking time will vary depending on how hot your oven is. For me, it's about 15-20 minutes, but bake them until you see black peels.
Step #3: Remove the black bananas from the oven. Cut open the banana peel to release the hot air and let them cool. I add the juices as well as the mushy part to the banana bread batter.
Other Ways to Ripen Bananas
To Ripen bananas in a couple of days: Place the bananas into a brown paper bag, this increases the presence of ethylene gas which makes them ripen quicker!
Note: I tested ripening a banana in a plastic bag and the brown paper bag method, the banana in the plastic bag ripened to the same color as the other banana in the paper bag however it was unnaturally mushier and almost soggy because the lack of oxygen. Use a paper bag if possible.
The third way to get the perfect banana bread bananas is to buy ripe fruit: Often the grocery store will sell overripe bananas at a discounted price such as 30% off, this is a great way to get the perfect bananas to bake with.
Is my banana too ripe to make banana bread with?
Let's look at the signs and smells to see if your banana is too ripe to make banana quick bread with! Too-ripe bananas with lots of brown spots or completely dark ones are perfect to make banana bread with it and in fact, they create an awesome banana flavor.
However, if there are signs of mold, lots of fruit flies, it smells off, or leaking liquid, throw it out, you have rotten bananas. But 9 times out of 10 it's great for banana bread!
The bananas that have sat in the fruit bowl for too long and don't look appetizing at all - those mushy bananas will make the perfect texture and taste for all baked goods with bananas.
How to Slow the Ripening of Bananas
If don't want your bananas to ripen quickly here's what you need to do. It's most important to stop the ethylene gas from increasing around the banana as this ripens the bananas quickly.
Method #1 Wrap the fresh banana stems with saran wrap to trap the ethylene gas from coming into the air.
Method #2 Hang the bananas to allow more air circulation, which prevents them from turning brown as fast.
Method #3 Placing bananas in the fridge will help them last longer! The peel may turn a darker color however the fruit will stay firm and will be great for eating.
How to Freeze Ripe Bananas for Baking with Later
When you have ripe bananas that you can't use right away, freeze them!
Start by removing the peel and then placing the banana on a baking sheet covered in parchment paper. Place the banana pan in the freezer.
Once the individual bananas are frozen, place the bananas together in a freezer bag or airtight container and put the bag back into the freezer.
Can I use Frozen Bananas for Banana Bread?
Yes! To make the best banana bread recipe with frozen bananas, thaw bananas at room temperature (overnight or about 6 hours) or slowly melt them in the microwave.
Use the squishy brown banana for baking (and the liquid). If it's hard to tell how many frozen bananas you have, ½ cup of mashed bananas is about 1 banana.