How to freeze bananas for future recipes

how to freeze bananas
How to freeze and store bananasGetty

Depending on their ripeness, bananas can be frozen in a number of ways for a range of uses. Using the freezer means you no longer need to have brown bananas hanging around in the fruit bowl begging to be mashed into a cake batter, or patiently wait for the green bananas to ripen for your smoothie. Stock up at the supermarket on the cheap bunches that are past their prime and keep bananas in the freezer ready to use whenever you fancy, just read our handy freezer tips below.

It's not only bananas that can be frozen. You can also extend the life of other fresh food and we have guides on how to freeze carrots, courgettes, rhubarb and more.

How to freeze bananas

Ripe firm bananas are the perfect ingredient for a creamy smoothie, avoid using any that are too brown and mushy. To prepare and freeze bananas ready to add to the blender, peel and chop roughly into 1cm slices, and lay the slices in a single layer on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Put the freezer on its coldest setting and freeze until solid, then tip the frozen bananas into a freezer bag to store. Open freezing the banana slices at the beginning ensures that they don’t freeze in clumps, so you can use as many as you need straight from the freezer. The bananas should be stored in an airtight freezer bag or container, labelled with the date they have been frozen.

how to freeze bananas
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If using bananas for baking and desserts, it is best to store the bananas peeled and whole. This will make it easier to use in recipes that require a certain number of bananas rather than a weight. Use bananas that are turning brown but not too mushy. Open freeze the peeled whole bananas using the same method as the sliced bananas. Once frozen, store in airtight freezer bags or containers, labelled with the date they have been frozen. For added convenience store frozen bananas in quantities required for recipes that you use most often.

If the bananas are very brown and turning mushy, then peel and mash them prior to freezing. Mash the bananas in quantities needed for recipes, and transfer to airtight freezer bags or containers, labelled with the quantity and date frozen.

Whichever method of preparation is used, frozen bananas are best used within six months. If bananas are frozen for longer, they may become brown and release more liquid once defrosted.

How are bananas affected by freezing?

Freezing bananas will concentrate their flavour, which is an added benefit for bakes and desserts. The texture of the banana may be altered after defrosting. If using frozen sliced bananas straight from the freezer in your recipe, such as a smoothie or quick ice cream, the consistency should work well as there is no defrosting stage. When defrosting whole bananas or mashed bananas, they will leech a brown liquid (which is perfectly fine to consume), however it is best to strain it off before mashing or incorporating into the batter, as the added liquid can make the final bake denser. The longer defrosted bananas are left, the slimier they become so it is best to use them as soon as they are defrosted.

How to use frozen bananas

The sliced frozen bananas are great used straight from the freezer in smoothies, ice creams and milkshakes. Whole and mashed bananas can be defrosted overnight in the fridge or at room temperature for 2-3 hours, the less time bananas are defrosting the less liquid they will release. For best results, discard any liquid before mashing and using in the recipe. The frozen pre-mashed bananas will be more watery as it is not possible to discard the liquid once defrosted, it is best to use them in denser bakes such as banana bread or muffins.

how to freeze bananas
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Bring thawed bananas to room temperature before using in baking, as the temperature may affect the baking time. It is best to use the defrosted bananas the same day, as they will continue to deteriorate and turn brown.

Defrost three peeled whole bananas, mash and use in this all-in-one banana bread.

Have frozen banana slices ready to whip up this easy instant banana ice cream or start the day right with this classic smoothie adding the frozen banana slices straight the blender.

Defrost 3 whole or 300g mashed bananas and follow the recipe for this crowd pleaser dessert.

Defrost 2 whole bananas (making sure to discard any liquid from the bananas or it might affect the consistency of the filling), and add cold to the blender for this extra creamy banoffee cheesecake.

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