Will Bananas Ripen in a Plastic Bag? (And 2 Banana Ripening Ideas)

If your fruit is somewhat green and unappetizing, you may be wondering, will bananas ripen in a plastic bag?

If you buy your bananas pre-packed from the store, they are usually in a bag.

Is there a reason for this?

Is the idea that your bananas will ripen in the plastic bag once you get them home?

Or should you take them out of the bag?

Let’s take a look at the truth about helping your bananas to ripen quicker.

Bananas will not ripen in a plastic bag, and storing them this way, can actually slow down the process. That is why supermarkets actually package them in plastic, so as to ensure that they don’t ripen too quickly and become inedible before purchase. The plastic bag stops oxygen from getting to the bananas, and this is a necessary element of ripening. However, bananas will ripen faster if placed in a paper bag. The banana will give off ethylene, and this becomes trapped in a paper bag, but unlike with plastic, oxygen can freely enter and speed up the ripening process.  

1. Why Do Bananas Ripen in Paper Bags?

So, we have found that keeping bananas in plastic bags actually slows down the ripening process.

This is because there is no way for oxygen to enter the bag, and this is a necessary requirement.

However, a paper bag is a tried and tested method of ripening bananas (and other fruit).

As the banana ripens, it gives off a gas called ethylene, and the higher the concentration of this gas, the faster the fruit will ripen.

Oxygen is also required, and a paper bag not only concentrates the level of ethylene but also allows oxygen to enter, the perfect combination for ripening.

Other fruits also give off ethylene, so if you were to add an apple, apricot, avocado, or pear to the paper bag, it will help the bananas ripen even faster.

Don’t use citrus fruits, blueberries, watermelons, grapes, strawberries, cherries, or raspberries, as they don’t produce ethylene gas.

Using a paper bag can ripen a banana in as little as 24 hours, but it could take two or three days.

Putting the bag in a warm place will speed up the process even faster.

Once the bananas reach the desired yellow color, they are ready for eating.

If you want to use the fruit for baking, leave them a little longer until they start to turn brown.

2. How Else Can I Ripen Bananas Quickly?

So, if plastic bags don’t help, and paper bags take several days, how else can I ripen bananas quickly?

If you simply want ripe bananas for baking, rather than eating, you can pop them in the oven.

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F, and make sure you have a lined baking sheet ready.

Use parchment paper or a silicone mat because the bananas will probably leak as they ripen.

Don’t peel the bananas, simply pop them in the oven for about 30 minutes.

The peels will turn black, but the fruit will be unaffected, other than being very soft.

Once cooled, peel the bananas and use them in your favorite recipe.

For even quicker results, you can put bananas in the microwave.

However, this is not recommended; you may wish to read the post I have linked below.

If you do want to risk it, make sure you pierce the banana skin to allow moisture to escape.

Put them on a paper towel to absorb any leakage, and don’t microwave them for more than 60 seconds.

Again, they will be too soft for eating but perfect for making banana bread.

How to Ripen Bananas

Final Thoughts

So, the answer to the question of will bananas ripen in a plastic bag is an emphatic no; it will slow down the process.

However, using a paper bag is a different story and works well but can take a couple of days.

Another way of quickly ripening your banana is to use an oven or a microwave.

However, this makes the fruit very soft, and the bananas will only be suitable for baking.

Remember, patience is a virtue, and sometimes you just can’t rush a ripe banana!

As I mentioned above, here is a post that explains why you shouldn’t microwave a banana!

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