Bananas can be edible and tasty for up to seven days after they ripen, but freezing them extends their usefulness by months. Mashing bananas and freezing them stops the aging process so they’ll taste the same after a few months in the freezer as they did when you put them in. Bake with mashed bananas within three months of freezing them for the most flavor.
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Choose bananas that have no green on them. The ideal banana for mashing is one that has a smattering of brown spots on the peel. Bananas can start to turn brown when they’re exposed to air, so work quickly. Mash the bananas with a fork and drizzle them with lemon juice, which will help prevent them from turning brown. Use about 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice for every banana, and mix them thoroughly after you add the juice.
Either a glass or plastic container is fine for freezing bananas. Choosing the right size container prevents the bananas from becoming too brown, since filling the container most of the way full means the fruit won’t be exposed to much air. Since bananas don’t include much water, you can fill the container up to a half inch from the top without worrying about the bananas expanding as they freeze. Use a container that has an airtight lid and label it so you can be sure to use it within three months.
Depending on how large your container is, it can take anywhere from an hour to several hours for the bananas to come to room temperature. It’s important to not add bananas to any recipes when they’re still partially frozen, since frozen bananas can change the texture of the finished product. Once they’re fully defrosted, you may find some liquid has separated out of the bananas. Drain this liquid before adding the fruit to batter since it can water down your recipe.
Mashed bananas are tasty in a number of baked goods. Once defrosted, your fruit can be used in any recipe that calls for mashed bananas. Add them to pancakes or waffles, or to baked goods. Defrosted mashed bananas are especially useful in banana bread or muffins. Since they’re bound to turn at least a bit brown once they’ve been mashed, including these bananas in dark baked products means their color won’t be noticeable, which is ideal if you have picky eaters who won’t touch a chunk of brown fruit.