How to Ripen Bananas QuicklyPosted by
How to Ripen Bananas Quickly
The humble banana is a nutritious and delicious fruit enjoyed by people the world over. Ripe bananas go great for just about any meal or snack at any time of the day. Fresh, ripened bananas are great eaten as they are, or cooked with desserts and sweet meals.
Most supermarkets sell bunches of bananas while still unripe to preserve their taste, flavor, texture, and freshness. Unripe bananas are perfect for many dishes and recipes, although many people still prefer to eat a fresh banana for breakfast, as a healthy snack, or as a dessert item for lunch and dinner. Bananas take a while to ripen, so you have to help them ripen up a bit if you want to eat them soon. Here are some ways to help you ripen bananas quickly.
The Ripening Process
Ripening is a process where the fruit becomes sweeter, changes color, and becomes softer. Most fruits are eaten ripe, although some fruits can also be enjoyed when unripe. There are two keys to the ripening process:
- Produce more sugars. Fructose is a sugar found in many fruits and plants, and is the substance that causes fruits to taste sweet. The chemical process involved in ripening breaks down substances found in an unripe fruit and transforms them to sugars, including fructose.
- Increase enzymes. A gas called ethylene occurs naturally during the ripening process, and increases the amount of enzymes that help soften the fruit and break down substances in an unripe fruit to make sugars.
Many people think that naturally-ripened fruits are better than fruits ripened through artificial means, although most fruits sold in supermarkets are artificially-ripened. Many fruits are ripened with calcium carbide. The chemical reaction that results from fruit enzymes and calcium carbide makes ethylene and acetylene gases, which speed up the ripening process.
Fruit in a Paper Bag
One way that you could make bananas ripen faster is if you stimulate the fruit to produce ethylene gas, or if you introduce ethylene gas into the fruits. Here are the steps you need to ripen bananas using this method:
- Take a slightly overripe tomato or apple, and place it in a paper bag.
- Put the bananas inside the paper bag.
- Seal the bag, and store it in a cool, dry place. The bananas will be ripened around one to two days after you put them in the bag.
Box of Rice
In Asia, fruits are usually ripened by placing them in a container filled with uncooked grains of rice, usually a box or a rice dispenser. The temperature inside the container is quite constant, and conducive to ripening. Place a few bananas inside a box of uncooked rice, and wait three to five days for the fruit to ripen. Don’t worry about rice tasting like bananas when you cook it; if you pull out the bananas just before they ripen completely, the bananas won’t become overripe and ruin the flavor of the rice.
Newspaper and Oven
Another way to ripen bananas is to use heat. You may have heard about putting unripe bananas in a microwave oven, but the microwave does not generate sufficient heat to speed up the production of sugars (and you may end up with a microwave mess). Instead, you can speed up the ripening process this way:
- Wrap the bananas in two or three layers of clean newspaper.
- Preheat your oven to the lowest possible setting, and turn it off.
- Wait for the oven to cool for about two and a half minutes.
- Set the bananas on the coolest part of the oven.
- Close the door and leave the bananas there overnight.
If you simply cannot wait to have a bite of ripe bananas, these tips can help you speed up the ripening process. Don’t worry about the taste or the texture; even if you do ripen bananas quickly, they will have the same sweet, refreshing taste as ones ripened on the tree.
How to Ripen Bananas Quickly