Bananas are an elusive fruit. One minute they’re bitter and green, the next brown dots have taken over the peel and the inside is mushy and too sweet. Luckily, there are a few hacks to get bananas ripe in a jiff and keep them at your preferred level of ripeness.
If you have one or two days: Store bananas in a paper bag, says Lori Taylor, a produce expert and the founder of theproducemom.com. As bananas mature, they emit ethylene, a gaseous hormone that quickens ripening. When you contain them in a bag, they’re exposed to more ethylene, so the process goes more quickly.
For overnight ripening: Add a piece of fruit, like an apple, avocado or pear, to the bag. These fruits also emit ethylene and will hasten the process.
If you have an hour: If you’re going to bake with the bananas, there is an even quicker method. Place whole, unpeeled bananas on a sheet pan and bake at 300°F for 1 hour, says Taylor. Cool in the refrigerator, then peel—they’re ready for your banana bread recipe.
Once a banana is ripe, refrigerate it, says Taylor. The peel may brown but the fruit will ripen at a much slower pace and maintain its current stage of ripeness for up to 1 week. And don’t throw out those banana peels. They’re perfect for fertilizing roses. Just flatten a peel and bury it under one inch of soil at the base of a rosebush. The peel's potassium feeds the plant and helps it resist disease.