How To Thaw Frozen Bananas When It's Time For Baking

Frozen banana in dish
Frozen banana in dish - Irina Taskova/Getty Images

There's a reason bananas appear so often in desserts; they're delicious, and they work well in a surprising variety of contexts. In addition to obvious things like banana pudding, you can turn bananas -- even ones that are a little past their prime -- into baked goods like banana bread with no problem. But even though you can use overripe bananas to bake with, sometimes you still need to freeze them to preserve them for longer.

But what's the best way to deal with it when it's finally time to take those bananas out of the freezer and get them ready for whatever you'd like to do with them? It turns out, the key to thawing bananas so they'll be perfect for baking is based on time -- specifically, take your time with it. You shouldn't try to thaw too quickly if you can avoid it, and the reason is because of science.

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Thawing Happens Slowly, Freezing Happens Quickly

Frozen bananas in a container
Frozen bananas in a container - X/Twitter

The thing about freezing and thawing is they should be conducted at opposite speeds: freezing should happen as quickly as possible, while thawing should be done as slowly as possible. The reason why is the science of what happens when you freeze and thaw food.

When food is frozen, crystals form from the water within the food itself. If these crystals are large enough, they can cause the cell walls within the food to rupture, ruining its texture (and potentially taste). It's for this reason that you want food to freeze as quickly as possible, which is why frozen food wasn't popular until after the creation of the double belt freezer by Clarence Birdseye -- if food freezes faster, it only has time to form smaller crystals.

Thawing, however, works in the opposite direction. Thawing food slowly causes less rapid disruption from those crystals turning back into water, which is why doing so preserves texture as much as possible. Bananas are no exception to this rule.

If You Have To Thaw Bananas Quickly, It's Possible

A microwave oven
A microwave oven - Zargondesign/Getty Images

The best way to thaw bananas is the best way to thaw anything: Let them thaw slowly overnight in the fridge on a covered plate or bowl. This will give the bananas the longest possible time to hold as much of their flavor as possible. But what if you absolutely need to thaw them quicker?

Even if it won't turn out quite as well as using the slower method, you do have a couple of options for speedier thawing methods. The first is to seal them in a ziplock bag, fill a bowl with lukewarm water and set it out on the counter. At most, this should take a few hours. And if you really need them thawed immediately, you can use the defrost setting on the microwave. It's not ideal, as they are likely not going to be evenly thawed, but after three to four minutes the bananas will be ready.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.