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!


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:



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.



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!



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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62 comments:

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

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

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  3. 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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  4. 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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  5. 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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  6. I freeze bananas when they're got forgotten and gone black...they are perfect for baking.
    Deb

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

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    2. 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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  8. 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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    1. 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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  9. 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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  10. 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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  11. 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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    1. Yeah, this is an easy way to reduce packaging. They're in their own compostable wrappers!

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  12. 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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    1. 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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  13. 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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  14. 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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  15. 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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  16. 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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  17. 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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  18. 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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  19. 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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  20. WOW! This looks great...can't wait to get some bananas to freeze and try it out! :)

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  21. 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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  22. 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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    1. 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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  23. 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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    1. 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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  24. 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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    1. Just found the answer to my question, thanks so much!!!!

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

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  26. 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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  27. 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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    1. 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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  28. This is a great tip. No more icky brown frozen bananas for me. Thanks for sharing!!

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

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  31. 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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    1. 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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    2. That's how I do it. The plastic bag keeps it much longer

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  32. 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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    1. Thanks Shauna, I'll check it out.

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  33. 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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  34. 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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  35. 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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  36. 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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  37. 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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  38. I love eating frozen bananas like popsicles. What a great tip here!

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  39. Great tip! Thanks for sharing on Tuesday Greens!

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

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  41. 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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