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Wondering what to do with your overripe bananas? You can salvage some by whipping up a batch of banana bread, but you may not have time or you may have more overripe bananas than your recipe for banana bread can handle. Do they head to the compost? Or can you freeze bananas? Thankfully, the answer is yes! Frozen bananas can come in handy in a number of ways. (Got lots of overripe bananas? Check out these 5 Ways to Use Overripe Bananas.)
According to EatingWell's Test Kitchen Manager, Breana Killeen, "Frozen bananas are the best for making smoothies because you don't need to add any ice, and they give your smoothie the creamiest texture. I also use them for banana bread, muffins and pancakes. You could also dip them into chocolate for a healthy treat."
So, now that you know that frozen bananas have some serious potential, here are some tips and tricks on how to freeze them:
Freezing bananas involves three simple steps:
1. Wait until they're really ripe
2. Cut them up
3. Freeze them
According to Killeen, the best way to freeze bananas boils down to what you'll be using them for.
If you're planning to use them in a smoothie, Killeen suggests cutting them into 1-inch pieces and then freezing them on a baking sheet for about two hours before transferring to a freezer bag.
If you're planning to use the bananas for banana bread or other baked goods, Killeen suggests peeling and halving them before you freeze them. And don't forget to label and date those freezer bags! Frozen bananas can last a while (up to six months) but beyond that, they may get freezer burn, leaving you with an off taste.
Once the bananas are frozen, using them in a recipe is as easy as reaching into your freezer. As we said above, using frozen bananas in a smoothie yields a super-creamy texture. But if you're planning on using them in baked goods, you need to defrost them first. Killeen defrosts her frozen bananas in the fridge overnight or heats them up in the microwave for about a minute (until they're soft) for those last-minute baking endeavors. The bottom line? Freezing bananas is the perfect way to cut back on food waste and have a key ingredient at the ready for some seriously delicious recipes. With a healthy stash of perfectly ripe frozen bananas on hand, you'll finally be able to make banana bread according to plan rather than at the mercy of your bananas. (Want more? Check out these Banana Recipes.)