Step 2: Separate, then Wrap the Stems

Sure, wrapping the whole stem section works, but why keep the bananas together? Since most bananas on a bunch ripen at slightly different rates, your prematurely ripe bananas are going to put off more ethylene gas which will only serve to make ALL the bananas ripen that much faster.

Divide and conquer! Separate the ripe fruit from the slightly-less-ripe, wrap their stems in plastic, then enjoy when you're ready.

This should do a couple of things:
  1. prevent ethylene gas from initiating the ripening process on under-ripe bananas
  2. fully cover the stem to really forestall the off-gassing
  3. make your bananas more convenient to grab and enjoy on the go
And if you're bothered by the stem wrapper, try opening your bananas from the opposite end like a monkey. You'll get fewer stringy bits and have a convenient handle to hold onto while you eat. Also, no awkwardness for that final bite.
So I tried it with a lot of bananas, and it simply did NOT work. See my results here: http://imgur.com/gallery/j8lRC <br> <br>I'd like to have experience returns of people for who that worked. <br>@OP: did you try it before posting it?
<p>Looking at your pictures you left some of the &quot;stem holder&quot; attached to the stem.<br>I found that you must have only stem, no &quot;stem holder&quot; in order for them to last longer...</p>
From your results, it looks like separating the bananas followed by wrapping has no discernible visual effect. You busted my myth!<br /><br />I tested separation but NOT wrapping. That was a bit of leap to synthesize the research around off-gassing and anecdotal reports that wrapping the stems made a difference. Clearly, it makes no aesthetic difference. (You mind if I incorporate your photos to make this ible more accurate?) <br /><br />
This article seems to assume that all of the ethylene either comes out of the stalk to be absorbed by the banana, or enters in via the stalk. Isn't the ethylene generated by the banana itself, all over? How does wrapping up just the stalk affect anything?<br> <br> I tried it to see if it would make any difference, and it was a resounding failure. I kept two bananas on my desk, about 9-12 inches apart (I briefly moved them closer for each photograph), one with stalk wrapped tightly with clingfilm (see fifth close-up photo) and one without. By the fourth day I don't think there is any significant difference between the two (or, in fact, on days 1, 2 or 3)!<br> <br> I'm going to eat them now!
<p>I too was looking forward to writing up a method for banana immortality.<br>I had practiced the &quot;wrap the stem holder&quot; with plastic wrap, which worked.<br>I separated the bananas from the &quot;stem holder&quot; and wrapped the end of the stem.<br>I numbered the bananas with a marker and took a picture.<br>In prepping to write up an Instructable I left three unwrapped, expecting early browning on those three.<br>More pictures taken to illustrate the step.<br>Imagine my surprise when I found that the three didn't age sooner!<br>The conclusion is that cutting them free of the &quot;stem holder&quot; is all that it took to make them last longer.<br>In my opinion they taste sweeter as well.<br>I was surprised and thought I may have done something wrong so I bought another hand of bananas and left half of one hand attached to the &quot;stem holder&quot; and cut the others from the &quot;stem holder.&quot;<br>I wrapped the &quot;stem holder&quot; and did nothing to the individual stems (other than cut them off the &quot;stem holder&quot;)<br>Being attached with wrap made them last longer but not as long as the singles.<br>Go figure...<br></p>
Sorry for performing necromancy on this thread, but this bears stating: Ever since you tested and confirmed that wrapping the stem has no effect, I've wondered how I ever came to that conclusion. Well, I finally figured it out! I made an incorrect leap of imagination about ethylene production and abscission, the natural splitting of leaf or fruit from stem. <br /> <br />I re-read the Sauter paper and realized that I got a little too inferency. I thought that since ethylene caused abscission, it would make sense to cover the point prone to abscission. I didn't test when I saw confirmations from Lifehacker and eHow. (I know! Those were my sources after all the research I'd done?! I'm embarrassed for me, too.) <br /> <br />Thanks for eating bananas for science!
These two bananas look like twins!
I think most bananas *are* &quot;twins&quot;, in a sense, aren't they? Since the plants are all propagated by cloning another plant, and the fruit are unfertilised: <br> <br> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bananas#Modern_cultivation <br> <br>Maybe 'twins' isn't quite the right word but they all come from a relatively small number of &quot;mothers&quot; that have been cloned millions of times. This is probably why most bananas look very similar, unlike, say, apples. <br> <br>8-)
Although they were treated differently, they looked the same, like twins to me. Good selection of experiment samples.
Note that I should point out the photos above are in order on Day 1 (purchase day), Day 2, Day 3 and Day 4. I kept them separated by 9-12, apart from during their photoshoots, in case the ethylene from one banana affected the other.
Hrm, great experimenting and documentation. And of course interesting result...
Cool suggestion! Will try it??!?
<p>&ldquo;try opening your bananas from the opposite end like a monkey&rdquo;</p><p>&mdash; how do you open a monkey?</p>
with an axe
<p>Saran Wrap changed formulation in 2004 to polyethlene, far more permeable to oxygen, and probably ethylene.</p>
<p>Wow, I'll try this! Thank you!</p>
<p>how do u keep Bananas fresh</p>
<p>It's basically impossible. </p>
<p>I'm surprised that nobody has suggested using green bags, such as Debbie Meyer Green Bags or Evert-Fresh Green Bags. These bags contain zeolite, which absorbs ethylene gas. They really do work well on all fruits and veggies that produce ethylene gas as a natural ripening process.</p>
<p>I separated 5 bananas, wrapped the stems in plastic wrap and placed them on a folded towel in the fridge. Altho the skins got dark, the fruit was perfect for eating and they'd been in there for 3 days. When I'd just set them on the counter, if the skins were dark the fruit was banana bread soft.</p>
<p>There's no such thing as an over-ripened banana. Bananas that are turning brown are perfect for using in recipes such as banana bread, banana cake, ice cream and so on. With that said, yes...separating bananas does keep them yellow longer. I haven't tried putting saran wrap on the stem...I'll have to do that.</p>
<p>I always had this problem and then one day I read that if you just cut off the stalk as low to the banana as possible without exposing the banana that the bananas would last much longer. This is what I did. Now I have bananas that last through the week and then some.</p>
If you're inclined to buy too many bananas (no such thing!) and want to take a shot at winning the Scientific Method Contest that's running right now, documenting what actually happens over time with each freshness preservation method would probably vault you pretty high into the standings.
To keep banana slices fresh<br>Dip in agave and freeze
Its magnificent :)
I must try this out to verify. thanks!
This is great! I have been struggling with my bananas for a long time. Now I know know what to do with them!! I have to have calcium and I eat them day and night!
Ok, this makes sense, I just bought a bunch and I'm going to try separating them. Like lucylouwho, I've been struggling too with my bananas, so funny.
This is great! I have been struggling with my bananas for a long time. Now I know know what to do with them!! I have to have calcium and I eat them day and night!
such a great idea- my bananas always go bad too
@wilgubeast:<br> Thank you for your answer. I didn't think to compare separated bananas with bananas still attached. I'll try it the next time and see what are the results.<br> <br> No, I don't mind at all, you can use my pictures if you want.<br> <br> (Sorry, I cannot reply directly to your comment, the Captcha doesn't load when I try to reply on a thread...)
You're awesome.<br /><br />(And try clearing your cache or turning off adblock or using Firefox to make the Captcha load correctly.)
Yummmm...., I'm just eating the bananas I kept fresh with these techniques, Thanks for the instructions!
I tried this in a fashion. I happened to have melted wax in the kitchen for another project and dipped the stem ends. I didn't see any appreciable difference in aging, but I'll have to try it again sometime with more controls.
I'm very interested in seeing whether this method is replicable for more people. Let us know how your experiments go. So far the only clear winner for banana freshness preservation is separating them from the bunch.
Didn't read all 90 comments. Ignore this if it's already mentioned. Carbon dioxide is an inhibitor of ethylene production. To ensure longevity of bananas, put them in an airtight container connected to pressured carbon dioxide tank with flow control valve at the bottom of the container and a hole on top of the container to let go of ethylene. The only question is: can we afford it?
I wondered if banana stems dipped in hot candle wax would work. No air gaps.
Superb instructable wilgubeast! Thanks for doing the science on preserving bananas for a longer time. I had no idea what factors were involved. 10/10+
Who would have thought this would make a difference! I love bananas, brilliant for a snack on the go and they come in their own protective case. I am interested how much longer the bananas last? <br> <br>I will definitely be trying this.
Great idea- and thanks for the science! I tried it and it really does work.
Thank you
ethylene gas is also heaver than air so keeping them off surfaces helps.
That is super useful! Be sure to keep your bananas lifted, people.
No, not those bananas... The real ones...lol
Thank you. Instead of lemon juice, orange juice does the job being not as acid.
lt.greg... &quot;I'm Chiquita banana and I've come to say - Bananas have to ripen in a certain way- When they are fleck'd with brown and have a golden hue - Bananas taste the best and are best for you - You can put them in a salad - You can put them in a pie-aye - Any way you want to eat them - It's impossible to beat them - But, bananas like the climate of the very, very tropical equator - So you should never put bananas in the refrigerator.&quot; <br>-chiquita.com
Well &quot;Chiki&quot; - I guess I must have a magic refrigerator then - because when I put green bananas in there - they last three times as long as the ones from the same batch that I leave out on the counter. Yes - if you leave them in TOO LONG and don <br>tr check them every few days they turn brown. But they DO definitely last longer for me, in my fridge. <br>Greg <br>:-)P

About This Instructable


291 favorites


Bio: I'm an English teacher. I used to oversee the Ibles community team. Now I'm just a regular guy. Send an email to service ... More »
More by wilgubeast: Use Kobo for Accountable Independent Reading 9 Unusual Uses for Beer Mantener frescos los plátanos durante más tiempo (¡las rodajas, también!)
Add instructable to: