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How To Store Half A Banana To Keep It Fresh & Prevent Browning

We’ve all been there; you only used half a banana for a recipe or just could not finish it for lunch. Maybe you added a few slices to your oatmeal or to your toast with peanut butter, but now you still have the other half sitting there. 

As if storing bananas wasn’t tricky enough, now you’re left with half a banana to store. 

So, how do you store half a banana? To store half a banana cut the banana before you peel it. The peel protects the banana from exposure to oxygen which prevents it from turning brown too quickly. The protect the cut end dip it in lemon juice, the acid slows down browning.

How to keep half a banana fresh

As you undoubtedly know, bananas can and will go bad very quickly once exposed to oxygen. You’ve probably seen this happen countless times before, right there on your kitchen counter. 

Enzymes in the banana react with oxygen in the air, which causes the banana to turn brown. This process is called oxidation. 

To keep your half a banana fresh, the key is to limit oxygen exposure and therefore decrease the likelihood of oxidation.

Half a cut banana on a plate

The best way to store half a banana and keep it fresh is to:

  1. Get a sharp knife and cut the banana in half before you peel it. A banana’s best protection against oxygen is its own skin. You want to keep as much of the skin intact as possible
  2. Dip the cut end of the banana into an acidic liquid (fruit juice). Acids slow down oxidation and so can prevent the exposed bit from browning too quickly 
  3. Wrap the cut end with plastic wrap or aluminum foil to prevent any direct contact with oxygen
  4. You can store the banana at room temperature or in the fridge. If the banana is ripe, it’ll last 1-2 days at room temperature or 3-4 days in the refrigerator
A cut banana alongside a bowl of fruit juice
Dipping the cut end of the banana in acidic juice prevents it from browning prematurely

You can use any type of citric fruit juice for the acidic liquid, either fresh or store-bought. You can even use diluted vinegar or soda water. Some examples of the juices you can use include:

  • orange juice
  • lemon juice
  • pineapple juice
  • grapefruit juice
  • apple juice
  • lime juice
A cut banana wrapped in tin foil alongside a bowl or orange juice

As an advocate for cutting down on waste, I would suggest investing in a food hugger (they’re SO handy) rather than using plastic wrap to cover your banana. Food huggers are just as airtight as plastic wrap but can be used over and over again. You get five in a set, and the smallest one is designed to be the perfect fit for half a banana! 

Another method of preserving the banana is to stand the banana up on a plate cut-end down. You can also just leave the end exposed and cut off a small slice before eating it. The browning will only affect the surface of the banana.

How to store a half a peeled banana

If the banana half is already peeled, you’ve lost the natural protection afforded by the skin, so you need to provide some other form of protection.

To store half a peeled banana (or a whole one):

  1. Dip the entire banana in an acidic juice, then wrap it in plastic wrap
  2. You can keep the wrapped banana in the refrigerator or at room temperature
  3. At room temperature, the peeled banana can last 1-2 days. If you want it to last any longer, stick to the refrigerator. If refrigerated, the peeled banana can last 3-4 days, twice the length of time.

A peeled cut banana submerged in a bowl of orange juice

The acidic juice slows down oxidation, and the plastic wrap helps prevent any air from coming into contact with the banana.

a peeled cut banana wrapped in plastic wrap

Since half a peeled banana is pretty much the same as a whole peeled banana, these instructions can be applied to both.

Can you keep half a banana in the refrigerator?

Yes, you can keep half a banana in the refrigerator regardless of how it’s prepared: cut, peeled, or sliced.

In fact, keeping half a banana in the fridge is recommended for storage needs exceeding 1-2 days. The colder temperatures in the refrigerator slow down the oxidation process and prevent the banana from turning brown prematurely. They also slow down the ripening process of the banana.

If you still have the peel on the banana, the peel will turn brown but this does not affect the flesh of the banana. 

Bananas are grown in tropical areas and are not used to cold temperatures. Therefore, when they’re put in the refrigerator they can start acting rather strangely!

Cold temperatures cause the banana skin’s cell walls to break down, leading to a reaction that turns the skin black. It has nothing to do with the inside of the banana.

How to store a cut banana (banana slices)

Storing a cut banana is similar to storing a peeled banana. 

Banana slices lined on parchment paper in a Tupperware container

Here are the steps to follow to keep your cut banana fresh

  1. Coat the slices in some acidic juice (i.e. lemon juice). I go through a few methods for doing this below
  2. Line an airtight container with some baking paper and carefully place the slices onto the paper cut face down. Use as small a container as possible to minimize exposure to oxygen
  3. Once all the pieces are laid out, put another piece of baking paper on top of the cut bananas. This creates an air barrier and helps the bananas stay fresh for longer
  4. Close the airtight container and place it in the refrigerator where the bananas will last for 3 days

The above method works best if all the slices are the same thickness.

Banana slices in a Tupperware container covered with parchment paper

The main thing you need to do is coat the banana in some sort of acidic juice (e.g. lemon juice). There are three main ways to do this:

  • My recommendation is to use a spray bottle or a brush to apply the acidic juices because you can get an even coat without putting too much liquid on
  • You can also submerge the banana in a bowl of juice but this method may alter the taste of the banana slightly as it will absorb some of the juice
  • A third way of coating the cut banana is to put the slices in a Ziploc bag, pour a bit of the juice into the bag, and shake

If you can’t find a suitable container you can use a Ziploc bag instead. Make sure you get as much air out of the bag as possible. The best way to do this is to use a straw and suck it out.

How to freeze half a banana

If you want to keep the banana for more than a few days, the best thing to do is freeze it.

Cut banana slices on a baking tray ready for freezing

To freeze half a banana:

  1. I always recommend peeling the banana before you freeze it because trying to peel a frozen or thawed banana is a certified nightmare!
  2. You might also consider cutting the banana into pieces because most recipes that call for frozen bananas usually require it to be chopped up
  3. Sprinkle, spray, or brush the banana with some fruit juice (lemon, orange, or lime) in order to stop them from turning brown. The acidity of the fruit juice slows down any oxidation
  4. If you’ve kept the banana intact rather than cutting it into pieces, wrap the banana in plastic wrap to add a layer of protection
  5. If you’ve cut the banana into pieces then lay them out of a baking tray and flash freeze them. To flash freeze, place the banana in the freezer for 2-3 hours.
  6. After 2-3 hours the banana will be mostly frozen and you can transfer the pieces to a Ziploc bag or airtight container. Flash freezing ensures that the pieces will not stick together. This makes it easier to pick out however many pieces you need whenever you need them

Another method is to mash the bananas up with a teaspoon of lemon juice and freeze the mash. This way of freezing bananas is useful if you’re going to use them for baking. The lemon juice is added to prevent any browning. 

Pre-portion the banana mash out with a cup and put each portion in a Ziploc bag. Squeeze the air out of the bag to reduce air contact with the mash.

If you write the cup measurement on the bag you’ll know exactly how much is in there and it will be really easy to pull out the exact amount you need for your recipes. 

Whichever method you use to freeze the banana, it will be soggy when thawed. For this reason, frozen bananas work best in baking or in smoothies.

How long do bananas last in the freezer? 

In the freezer, bananas can last up to 2-3 months at top quality. They’ll be safe to eat for much longer than that, but after a few months, the banana will go brown and can also develop freezer burn. Freezer burn changes the taste and texture of food, and not in a good way. 

What can do you with half a banana?

Other than just eating half a banana as it is (because that’s boring), here are a few things you may consider: 

  • Use it to make banana popsicles. For an extra special treat, dip the frozen banana in chocolate
  • Use it to make a facemask and treat yourself to a spa day at home
  • You can add the portions to a bowl of oatmeal or put them on toast for breakfast
  • Add it to a smoothie. Bananas pair well with many different kinds of fruits
  • Add the bananas to your compost pile or worm bin. Bananas are rich in nutrients that will feed your plants and enrich any compost pile you are working on. 
  • If you often find yourself with un-used banana halves, start freezing them and save them up. Once you have enough, you can use them in all sorts of recipes: banana bread, ice cream, banana muffins, and banana pancakes.

How To Store Half A Banana

To store half a banana cut the banana before you peel it. The peel protects the banana from exposure to oxygen which prevents it from turning brown too quickly. The protect the cut end dip it in lemon juice, the acid slows down browning.
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Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 0 mins
Total Time 10 mins
Course Snack
Cuisine American
Servings 1 person
Calories 53 kcal

Ingredients
 

  • 1 portion banana
  • 1 portion fruit juice Anything acidic

Instructions
 

How To Store Half A Banana

  • Get a sharp knife and cut the banana in half before you peel it. A banana’s best protection against oxygen is its own skin. You want to keep as much of the skin intact as possible
  • Dip the cut end of the banana into an acidic liquid (fruit juice). Acids slow down oxidation and so can prevent the exposed bit from browning too quickly
  • Wrap the cut end with plastic wrap or aluminum foil to prevent any direct contact with oxygen
  • You can store the banana at room temperature or in the fridge. If the banana is ripe, it’ll last 1-2 days at room temperature or 3-4 days in the refrigerator

How To Freeze Half A Banana

  • I always recommend peeling the banana before you freeze it because trying to peel a frozen or thawed banana is a certified nightmare!
  • You might also consider cutting the banana into pieces because most recipes that call for frozen bananas usually require it to be chopped up
  • Sprinkle, spray, or brush the banana with some fruit juice (lemon, orange, or lime) in order to stop them from turning brown. The acidity of the fruit juice slows down any oxidation
  • If you’ve kept the banana intact rather than cutting it into pieces, wrap the banana in plastic wrap to add a layer of protection
  • If you’ve cut the banana into pieces then lay them out of a baking tray and flash freeze them. To flash freeze, place the banana in the freezer for 2-3 hours.
  • After 2-3 hours the banana will be mostly frozen and you can transfer the pieces to a Ziploc bag or airtight container. Flash freezing ensures that the pieces will not stick together. This makes it easier to pick out however many pieces you need whenever you need them

Nutrition

Calories: 53kcal
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