I need to make banana bread tomorrow, and the bananas I recently purchased with this in mind to not appear to be ripening fast enough. Is there anyway to speed the ripening without spoiling the bananas altogether?

(I have looked at this answer and it refers to how the fridge will speed up "blackening". @Sarge_Smith describes it as a different process chemically, so I am unsure that blackening == ripening for the purpose of making banana bread.)

  • 1
    Several other questions point out the use of a paper bag; did you try that yet?
    – Aaronut
    Feb 25 '12 at 16:37
  • @Aaronut I didn't find that link when I did a search but it did appear under the "Related" sidebar after the question was posted (and I didn't notice it until after reading Elendil's answer)
    – Cos Callis
    Feb 25 '12 at 17:46
  • 1
    Bananas go from firm to over ripe by putting them in my lunch box for only a few hours !
    – TFD
    Feb 25 '12 at 22:02
  • I removed the [bread] tag because this isn't actually about bread; there was a long discussion about this in chat during the vegetarian/vegan week and this is a similar situation.
    – Aaronut
    Feb 25 '12 at 22:19

Bananas are imported unripe and then ripened in the country of sale. This ripening is achieved by forcing ethylene gas through the bananas in special pressurised rooms.

Bananas naturally produce ethylene as they ripen, so you could just put them in a sealable plastic bag to contain that gas. Tomatoes also produce ethylene, so you could pop a couple of those in as well, but be aware that they'll also ripen faster too.

  • Thanks for your answer but please clarify something for me. Your answer reads "Ripening Causes Gas" but the context suggests that you mean "Gas Causes Ripening".
    – Cos Callis
    Feb 25 '12 at 15:16
  • 4
    @CosCallis It goes both ways. Ethylene is the mechanism by which a plant signals that it's time to ripen; it triggers the ripening, which produces additional ethylene in order to continue the ripening.
    – Cascabel
    Feb 25 '12 at 16:13
  • 3
    If you've an apple, put it in the bag with the bananas. Apples also emit ethylene, and to speed ripening, more is better. youtube.com/watch?v=I1tdZh9Pl_8 Feb 25 '12 at 17:01
  • @Jefromi interesting, thanks for the clarification.
    – Cos Callis
    Feb 25 '12 at 17:43
  • @WayfaringStranger: Apples emit significantly less than bananas (unless they're over-ripe, I guess), so unless you're also trying to ripen the apple, there's not much point; far better to put it in a bag with more bananas.
    – Aaronut
    Feb 25 '12 at 19:39

When bananas are sealed inside plastic bag, the skin turns black and aesthetically it does not look good. Also, some times black banana may be not fully ripe. As ElendilTheTall says, its better to use ethylene so that banana can be ripened at a faster rate.

There are couple of ways wherein banana can be ripened on a domestic scale.

  1. As Aaronut says, cover in paper bag and keep it in warm place, thereby self produced ethylene can be trapped whcih makes banana to ripe.
  2. Coat the tip of the banana with some calcium salt, like slaked lime or quick lime, and keep it warm place.
  3. Expose the banana to fumes (by burning some dry biodegradable material, like dry leaf, dry stem or such things) and cover the exposed banana tightly.

I know that this is a bit after the fact, but here is a trick I learned from the Produce Manager at the supermarket I used to work at...

Put the banana in a paper bag with an orange. Close the paper bag (roll it up). Leave it over night, and the banana will be ripe in the morning.

The paper bag was mentioned before, as was using an apple, but citrus works even better.

  • can you explain what you mean by "better" in this context? Is it just 'faster'? Less likely to spoil?
    – Cos Callis
    Mar 22 '13 at 14:32
  • I mean it is faster - more effective. Can get you a ripe banana quicker. When you get right down to it, the OP asked how to ripen a banana faster, and using citrus in a paper bag is a great way. Mar 22 '13 at 14:46

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