Picture this: You wake up in the morning and notice that a couple of three-day old bananas are still in perfect condition. Too good to be true, right? In real life, a banana being absolutely fine on the third day from purchasing it from a local vendor is almost impossible. My mother makes it a point to buy only a handful of bananas so that we consume them quickly without letting them turn black and mushy, which they are so prone to. Bananas are consumed on an every day basis in most households, but the only hassle is their durability. However, here is good news. There are some really smart tricks that can help you keep bananas from spoiling soon. But before we go on to revealing them, let’s first find out why do they spoil so easily?
Why Do Bananas Turn Black So Easily?
According to Dr. Amal Ghosh, Clinical Tutor (Rtd) , N.R.S. Hospital, Kolkata, the cold temperature of the fridge encourages an enzyme called polyphenyl oxidase that is naturally found in banana to polymerise phenols in the banana skin into polyphenols . Polyphenols are similar to melanin, the pigment responsible for the colour of our skin. These polyphenols therefore blacken the skin of the bananas.
Despite the colour, the cold temperature will keep the bananas firmer than those left at room temperature for the same amount of time. The enzymes that break the starch into sugar (which makes the banana soft and ripe) work better at room temperature. Or in colder months, you can find a shaded corner and store the bananas.
Smart Tricks To Store Sliced Bananas
1. Soak it in a Fruit Juice
This is something that my mother does a lot. Once the bananas are soaked in fruit juice, they will take a great deal of time to turn brown. Whether you’re eating the slices raw or making a pie, fruit kebabs, a parfait or a fruit salad, you can trust that your bananas will look fresh well until the end of the meal. They should even last without refrigeration in a plastic container for a few hours and can be perfect for packed lunches.
2. Soda Water
Soda water or club soda is known for its ability to preserve freshly sliced fruits. Best of all, it doesn’t affect the taste of the banana. Use it as you would use fruit juices, soaking the slices in the soda water before serving or storing them. Tonic water, a beverage that looks the same, has a strong flavour that doesn’t go well with bananas.
3. Diluted Citric Acid
Citric acid (the same chemical that makes citrus fruits like lemons sour) is sold in a purified form as a canning additive. In this form, it is specifically used to keep stored fruits from discolouring. To use citric acid, add three teaspoons to a cup of water and blend. Soak the slices in the bath as normal. Please keep in mind to not use undiluted citric acid, as it is far too sour.
4. Diluted Vinegar
Vinegar can be used in addition to citric acid to keep fruits fresh. However, its sturdy sourness also makes it important to dilute it. As with citric acid, add a few teaspoons to a cup of water to make a bath and soak the banana portions as normal.
5. Limited Exposure to Air
Since banana slices turn brown when they are exposed to the oxygen in the air, preserving the fruit from physically touching the air will save you the browning reaction from occurring. One easy trick involves wax paper. Cut the slices so that they are all about the same slice and then lay them on a tray. Cut a square of wax paper to fit the tray, then lay it down over the slices and gently press it down so it sticks to each. The banana slices will be sandwiched between the paper and the tray without any air exposure. If you have a vacuum storage device you can also try packing the slices in an air-free container. To preserve whole bananas, cover the stalk with foil paper to prevent exposure to air.
Now that you know these tricks, you can easily buy more than 3-5 bananas a day!