If you're ever wanting to make banana bread or one ingredient ice cream and you don't have any ripe bananas on hand, you can cheat and do it yourself! I always seem to want baked good with bananas when all I have is starchy, unripened bananas around so this trick is a lifesaver. :)
I prefer the oven method of ripening bananas - you can also do it in the microwave, but I found those were not as sweet and perhaps a bit glue-y for my taste. Ripening bananas in the oven has never let me down - they're always much sweeter and softer!
P.S. Yes, I know - this method isn't really ripening the bananas. But it does soften them and make them sweet and wonderful, which is just what you need for recipes!
Step 1: What You'll Need:
- several less-than-ripe bananas
- parchment paper or foil
- a baking sheet
- an oven set to 300 F / 150 C
It's best if the bananas are not crazy green - when they're green it's much harder to convert all the starch into sugar. Try to stick to those that have moved from mostly green to yellow.
Step 2: Bake the Bananas
Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper. You really don't want to skip this: the bananas have a tendency to ooze as they bake, so this will save you lots of frustration trying to clean the pan later. :)
Preheat the oven to 300 F / 150 C.
Lay the bananas on the lined baking sheet and pop them into the oven.
Let them cook for 30-45 minutes - once they've gone a very dark brown or black color and they're soft to the touch, they are ready!
Step 3: The the Bananas Cool and Then Use or Store Them for Later
Once the bananas are out of the oven, let them sit for 15-20 minutes to cool.
You can either slice them open with a sharp knife or peel away the skin. Crush the banana flesh using your hands or a fork and you're all set.
You can use the ripened banana right away or store it in the freezer for later. I'm storing mine since I already have a loaf of banana bread made. I like to store three bananas per container so it's easy to add to my banana bread recipe.