Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A Perfect Frozen Banana

This might seem like the most mundane post, especially for people who have already been doing this and think it's the most obvious thing in the world. However, I grew up freezing bananas a different way, and when I discovered this method I was very excited. Suddenly, bananas that don't turn brown, no matter how long you leave them in the freezer!

how to peel a frozen banana

Although we try to eat local as much as we can, we really use a lot of bananas around here. Anytime I have a surplus of ripe ones, I toss some in the freezer to eventually become ice cream, smoothies, or banana zucchini bread. Just a few years ago I learned this trick that preserves the integrity of the banana even while frozen. 

Until then, I had always thought the only way to freeze bananas was to peel them first, and then freeze chunks in plastic bags. Well, the problem with that method is that when I would try to use these bananas, they'd be frozen together. Or, even if they managed to not stick together, their color would always be transformed by their time in the freezer to an unpleasant brown. Using this method, however, will maintain the color of fresh bananas, and it probably maintains more of their nutritional integrity as well.

It might be a small thing, but I also appreciate that this method eliminates the need for any plastic. Bananas stay in their own natural wrappers until they're needed; there is no garbage created and no bags to wash.

I had tried freezing them with the peel on before, but found peeling them to be nearly impossible while frozen, and letting them thaw once they were frozen was gross: they'd become mushy. Finally it occurred to me to use a knife to peel frozen bananas, and it turned out to be quite easy. Here is how I do it:


how to peel a frozen banana

I hold the banana with a clean cloth to protect my fingers from the cold. Then I simply take a knife and slice both ends off the banana, and make a long slice down both sides, from end to end. If you let it sit at room temperature for a few minutes before slicing into it, it does make the peel come away a bit easier. Just don't wait until it's soggy.


how to peel a frozen banana

Once these slices are made, you can slide the knife under the peel and it will come away from the banana fairly easily. Not as easy as peeling a fresh banana, but the knife & cloth combo really helps!


frozen banana

What you end up with is a beautiful frozen banana that doesn't look like it's spent any time in the freezer! Use as you would any frozen banana. They make great ice creams, smoothies (click here for my green smoothie recipe) and banana breads.

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68 comments

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April 18, 2012 at 10:54 AM

Beautiful! As a kid, I hated those brown, mushy frozen bananas mom would serve up as "treats."

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April 18, 2012 at 10:58 AM

It's a small thing, but it really helps. I think they have a better flavor this way as well!

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Rebecca
April 18, 2012 at 11:17 AM

I used to freeze whole bananas, but got discouraged trying to get the peel off. You've inspired me to try this again. Thanks!

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April 19, 2012 at 9:03 PM

This is brilliant! Thanks for sharing this tip.

I have a tip about peeling eggs that might interest you. You can check it out here http://healthyfrugalista.com/category/time-saving-tips/

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April 26, 2012 at 2:22 PM

I currently freeze whole bananas and either wait for them to defrost to peel them or struggle like crazy! Thanks for this great tip. You make it look so easy!

Oh, and I just recently discovered your blog via Fat Tuesday. Loving it! I wanted to let you know that I nominated you for a Liebster Blog award. You can read all about it on my blog post here: http://toomanyjarsinmykitchen.com/2012/04/25/double-the-fun-liebster-blog-award/

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May 3, 2012 at 4:34 AM

I freeze bananas when they're got forgotten and gone black...they are perfect for baking.
Deb

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May 5, 2012 at 11:38 PM

I just microwave mine for like 30 seconds. They don't warm up in this amount of time, and then you can just peel them like you normally would (might have to use a knife to get it started) and add them to your recipe.

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May 6, 2012 at 7:47 AM

Well that does sound quick and easy! Thanks for sharing the tip.

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May 30, 2012 at 8:07 AM

I JUST dealt with a frozen peeled banana for a smoothie so this caught my eye! Thanks, now I know a better way than popping it in the microwave (what I have always resorted to). Hadn't thought of using a knife to peel!

As a little kid one of my favorite "cooking" activities was to mush up bananas and then freeze the mush into "ice cream". I think my mom got tired of little bowls of rock hard banana mush with spoons frozen into them cluttering up the freezer. But I enjoyed it!

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May 30, 2012 at 9:54 AM

Great tip! Thank you for sharing it. I'll be sharing it forward by posting your link on my Facebook page and on Pinterest.

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May 30, 2012 at 10:22 AM

Kristin, have you tried blending frozen bananas into ice cream? It works great in a high speed blender, but I've also seen it done in a food processor. You can add a little milk/or substitute if needed. It's so yummy, definitely a great replacement for ice cream, and may work better than freezing them once mushed, as you did when you were a kid (though that sounds very cute.)

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June 1, 2012 at 8:47 AM

Thank you! I'm going to try this instead of the way I freeze them now (peel and flash freeze on pan then bag them up).

Thanks for linking this up the Carnival of Home Preserving!

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June 1, 2012 at 1:44 PM

So smart! I usually wrap them individually in plastic wrap... Which works okay to prevent browning (for a while), but irks me because SO MUCH PLASTIC. And time. Kudos on the tip :)

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June 1, 2012 at 6:43 PM

Yeah, this is an easy way to reduce packaging. They're in their own compostable wrappers!

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June 6, 2012 at 8:09 AM

Too much work. I prepeel and use plastic wrap around each individual banana and throw them into the freezer. They keep just as nicely in their airtight seal and unwrap in seconds before their dive into my blender.

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June 7, 2012 at 10:41 AM

Great tip. This is how we do it at home too! But I know a lot of people who slice and freeze in baggies and I agree that this is so much easier. Thanks for sharing with Whole Food Wednesdays.
http://www.beyondthepeel.net

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July 10, 2012 at 12:51 PM

Wow-this is such a neat trick! I love throwing frozen bananas into my homemade ice cream and smoothie recipes. This is going to make my life in the kitchen much easier. Thanks for sharing this post on Allergy-Free Wednesdays!

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July 11, 2012 at 10:24 AM

Now why didn't I think of that??! Thank you so much for sharing - I've often wondered if I could freeze bananas with the peel on and have just never tried it. Thanks for answering my question!
:) Megan

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July 27, 2012 at 7:54 AM

what a great idea I always have the mushy half thawed ones im trying to use. What a great blog you have makes me hungry lol. If you have a min check out mine if you have not already :)

www.thedailysmash101.blogspot.com

have a great day

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August 7, 2012 at 4:21 AM

Brilliant! Thank you SO much!

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August 14, 2012 at 4:59 PM

Okay, this seems like the simplest fix ever. I can't believe I didnt think of this! Total "palm forehead moment!". Thanks for sharing this advice!

-Kylie
absolutelyarkansas.blogspot.com

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September 3, 2012 at 10:05 AM

Thank you so much for linking up to last week's Tuesday Confessional. You've been featured and Pinned so come on over and grab a brag button!
http://www.craftyconfessions.com/2012/09/tuesday-confessional-features.html
~Macy

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September 17, 2012 at 1:02 AM

I had started freezing bananas without their peels because I found them hard to peel so thank you for sharing this wonderful idea. I will have to try freezing my extra bananas in their skins again!!

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September 21, 2012 at 8:50 PM

WOW! This looks great...can't wait to get some bananas to freeze and try it out! :)

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September 24, 2012 at 5:17 AM

GREAT idea! Thanks for linking up at our Gluten Free Fridays party! We had some fabulous entries this week! Our gluten free blogger directory is growing too! I have tweeted and pinned your entry to our Gluten Free Fridays board on Pinterest! :) See you next Friday! Cindy from vegetarianmamma.com

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October 12, 2012 at 2:55 AM

How strange it was for me when I learned that people actually peel and chop and container bananas before freezing them!! My mom always popped whole ripe bananas in the freezer and when we pulled them out we used your method or if I was too impatient to wait for a knife to get under the skin I would just pull out my handy dandy peeler!

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October 12, 2012 at 8:00 AM

I grew up with a bag of brown, broken bananas in the freezer, so this was an absolute revelation to me! Do you mean you peeled them by hand?

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October 14, 2012 at 1:29 AM

I thought I was just being lazy by keeping them intact. Oh, no! I meant my vegetable peeler gadget. My fingers can only tolerate so much frozen banana before feeling frostbitten.

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October 14, 2012 at 7:47 AM

Yes! A vegetable peeler sounds like it would work great for any that are difficult to peel with a knife. It does get cold on the fingers!

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October 16, 2012 at 7:52 PM

Just pinned after finding you on Foy Update. Love this post! I don't think it's mundane at all. I have frozen bananas in my freezer as we speak and will use this tip when I'm ready to use them:)

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Anonymous
January 27, 2013 at 3:04 PM

Just found the answer to my question, thanks so much!!!!

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Monica
February 2, 2013 at 9:08 AM

Ahh..you have helped ...wonderful!!

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February 11, 2013 at 5:18 AM

What a great tip! I usually just use my slightly brown frozen bananas from bags but was just wondering how I could get them to stay yellow this morning, and here you are with the answer! Thank you! I'm going to share this on my fb page.
I would love it if you would share this with my blog hop that I co-host with 2 other bloggers called Healthy Vegan Fridays: http://www.greenthickies.com/healthy-vegan-friday-29

You can link up from Friday to the end of Tuesday

Have a great day!

Katherine :)

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February 11, 2013 at 5:51 AM

Will do, thanks Katherine!

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February 11, 2013 at 5:56 AM

No one eats previously-frozen bananas plain, right? You put them in smoothies or baking recipes, yes? So why does it matter if they're brown?

Do you know if you can cut them in half and just wrap the ends and still do this? (I often only need half a banana. I really don't want to fight with breaking/cutting a frozen-solid banana in half!)

Currently, I do peel mine and freeze them in bags, but I only break them in half first; I don't slice them. I've never had trouble getting them apart, and I never flash-freeze them. I just freeze them with the bags laid flat, so the bananas end up in a single layer, and they come apart just fine.

You're probably right about the nutrition, though.

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February 11, 2013 at 6:33 AM

I notice the taste difference - brown bananas taste bruised and oddly too sweet. Keeping the peel on maintains the fresh flavor along with the color. I have heard from people who enjoy eating bananas right out of the freezer; it's like nature's Popsicle ;)
Definitely, if you only want a half a banana at a time, cut them in half first. Or, you could also cut them in half once they're frozen - they're still pretty easy to cut - and just stick the other half back in the freezer (in a bag).

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February 26, 2013 at 6:09 PM

This is a great tip. No more icky brown frozen bananas for me. Thanks for sharing!!

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February 28, 2013 at 9:12 PM

I didn't know this tip! So I'm super excited about it! Thanks for sharing at the Riverton Housewives Round Up!

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March 5, 2013 at 4:21 PM

Hi Mellow, your post is a reader fav this week on Waste Not Want Not Wednesday :)

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March 5, 2013 at 5:05 PM

That's excellent, thank you!

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March 11, 2013 at 3:22 PM

Great tip. I love banana ice cream. I always cut mine up to and place in bag. But they do stick together when frozen. I will hav to try freezing mine this way, Thanks.

I have a tip for bananas not in the freezer, but just how to keep them from turning brown so quick. Store them in a plastic bag on the counter. They will keep from turning brown 3-4 days longer.

Linda

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March 11, 2013 at 10:18 PM

Interesting, I would have never thought to keep them in plastic on the counter. That sounds like a great way to reduce fruit flies in the summer as well!

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April 12, 2013 at 12:11 PM

Love this post! I'd love for you to link up a few yummy posts at my weekend link party@The Weekend re-Treat! if you haven’t already yet this weekend on The Best Blog Recipes!

Hope to see you there!

Shauna
http://thebestblogrecipes.blogspot.com/

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April 12, 2013 at 5:17 PM

Thanks Shauna, I'll check it out.

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April 20, 2013 at 5:12 PM

Yes very basic but I did not know this either. Thanks for sharing. I may just change my methods of freezing bananas.
Jennifer

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April 26, 2013 at 3:27 AM

Not mundane at all. i have frozen with skins but it was such a mess to use. i'll try it out again using your tips thanks. found via townsend house what i am eating. Now following your blog. thanks http://mumstakefive.blogspot.com.au/

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May 23, 2013 at 10:02 AM

Sometimes the little tricks that we learn over the years needs to be passed on. Thank you for passing it on and for sharing on Fluster's Creative Muster Party.

Robin
Fluster Buster

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June 14, 2013 at 4:56 PM

Hi Mellow,
This is a great post! Hope you have a wonderful week end and thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday.
Come Back Soon!
Miz Helen

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June 18, 2013 at 1:06 PM

Great tips! Thanks for sharing. I freeze bananas all the time ~ usually after they are too ripe to eat.
I'm visiting today from DIY Mom. I hope you get the chance to visit my blog, linkup and leave a comment, too!
~ Megin of VMG206
Join me each Tuesday for Brag About It Link Party
and Saturday at 5pm Central for DIY Showcase Link Party

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July 25, 2013 at 1:07 PM

I love eating frozen bananas like popsicles. What a great tip here!

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July 26, 2013 at 5:22 PM

Great tip! Thanks for sharing on Tuesday Greens!

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October 18, 2013 at 1:26 PM

Great tip! Featuring it tomorrow on 'Or so she says...'! Thanks for linking up. :)

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December 29, 2013 at 8:10 AM

Thanks! I have actually never frozen bananas and googled it. I'm glad I found this post! Eat blog.. I'm going to follow.

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Anonymous
March 8, 2014 at 1:39 PM

I don't like to microwave anything if I'm freezing something to be healthy - it sort of negates the healthy part.

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Anonymous
September 2, 2014 at 12:32 PM

That's how I do it. The plastic bag keeps it much longer

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Anonymous
October 16, 2014 at 12:58 PM

I find peeling and wrapping way too much work; there's also a lot to be learned about the dangers of plastic on food.

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Anonymous
November 10, 2014 at 8:27 AM

Put the frozen unpeeled banana under warmwater and then peel it

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December 18, 2014 at 10:50 AM

That is such a great idea for quickly thawing the peel! Thanks :)

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January 5, 2015 at 5:13 AM

Thank you for that tip. I am on a basically fruigivore diet and have a raised awareness about the importance of findiing ripe fruits vs unripened fruits that sell in the grocery stores. I've learned recently that bananas are just about the only fruit that truly ripens -- not ferments -- when plucked from the tree. It is truly ripe when the skin is mottled.

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September 10, 2015 at 4:15 PM

To make a smoothie for one, what about cutting the banana in half or thirds with peel on and then freezing the chunks in an airtight container?

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Anonymous
November 23, 2015 at 5:23 PM

Why would using microwaves to heat up something change the micro and macro nutrients it is composed of?

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