Last week I asked my husband to buy me some bananas for the best banana bread recipe I was planning to make the following day. However, I forgot to remind him to choose riper ones. I prepared all the ingredients I needed, but when I wanted to mash the bananas they were way too far from ripe. I talking days too far, with that greenish yellow color. Now, I’m not one of those banana bread fans that insist on their bananas being blackened in order to use them in the recipe, but I do prefer bright yellow bananas that are soft and sweet.
My husband, on the other hand, has a habit of buying fruits that are before their prime so they, as he says, ‘survive for a longer time’. We are far from enthusiastic fruit eaters, I admit, and we do tend to ‘forget’ we have fruit in the house. But thanks to the easy banana bread recipe we never throw them away. I always find a way to incorporate dying fruits in this amazing sweet treat.
But how do you make a banana bread with greenish bananas? You don’t. You ripen your bananas. Yet who has the time to wait for them to ripen when everything is set for the preparation of a much craved avocado banana bread?
How to Ripen Your Bananas for a Perfect & Easy Banana Bread Recipe
#1 Instant Ripening – Use the Microwave
If you really have no time to wait, just place the bananas in the microwave. But before you do, poke the bananas with a fork or a knife throughout the skin. Heat for 30 seconds, then let them cool a bit, and then check one of them to see if it is soft enough. If it needs to soften more, return it to the microwave for another 30 seconds.
#2 Less Than an Hour – Use the Oven
Put unpeeled bananas on a baking sheet and place in the oven. To avoid cooking them, set the oven to low heat (250°- 300ºF). Heating time varies, but generally, it is between 20-30 minutes. Just make sure to check on them from time to time. The final result is completely black and sometimes leaky bananas. But don’t let the unappealing look fool you! These bananas are perfect for easy banana bread recipes – soft, sweet, and creamy.
#3 A Few Hours – Put Them in the Freezer
If you haven’t started mixing the wet ingredients and you have a few hours to spare, the banana bread can still be in time for a snack. Just leave the ingredients at a room temperature (not in the fridge) and place the bananas in the freezer. They will be fully ripe after a few hours.
#4 Less Than a Day – Put Them in a Paper Bag
If you are not in a rush, this is the easiest method for fast ripening. Just put the bananas in a brown paper bag and close loosely (just roll the bag shut). Fruits emit ethylene gas which speeds the ripening process. When this gas is ‘trapped’ in the bag, the ripening will be even faster. Extra tip: place other fruits in the bag (e.g. apple). They will release additional amounts of ethylene, helping the bananas ripen even faster.
#5 One to Three Days – Place Them Oven Kitchen Appliances
Besides using the oven and the freezer for their original purpose when it comes to bananas (i.e. for heating or cooling them), you can also use their top surfaces to obtain perfectly ripe bananas for your banana bread recipes. Simply place the fruits on top of the fridge. It gives out plenty of warmth which will help them ripen. It’s the same with the counter by your stove – when you cook, the hot air rises. The nearer the bananas are to the stove top, the faster they will ripen.
Keep in mind though that this process is not very consistent. Sometimes the yellow fruits will be ready to use in banana bread recipes in 24 hours, sometimes it will take days, maybe even a full week. So, I recommend this method only if you are not in a hurry.
The Best Banana Bread Recipe
Now that you have your ripe bananas, it is time for me to share my favorite banana bread recipe (yep, the one I craved so much it inspired me to search for fast ripening options):
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 small avocados (1/2 cup mashed)
2 ripe bananas
6 tablespoons milk
1/4 cup butter
½ cup chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 375°. Spray a loaf pan with cooking spray.
Add the bananas, avocados, milk, eggs, and baking soda to the blender, and mix until smooth. Transfer to a large mixing bowl. Add butter and sugar to the bowl and mix with a hand mixer until well blended. Add the flour and stir until completely combined.
Pour into the prepared pan. Top the loaf with chocolate chips and bake for about 45 minutes, until browned.
How to Ripen Avocados for Your Banana Bread
Avocados not ripe enough? No problem! Avocados may need up to 6 days to ripen. Luckily I have a few hacks for them as well!
In the Oven
Just like bananas, avocados ripe faster in warm environments. Wrap the avocados well in tinfoil. Place in a baking dish and bake at 200°F. They should be done in only 10 minutes or less!
In a Bag
The trick with the paper bag works for avocado as well. Place whole avocados in a paper bag and close. Add more fruits if you like, to increase the amount of ethylene gas and speed up the process. The avocados should be done in 1-3 days.
Cut the avocados and sprinkle them with lemon or lime juice. Avocados ripen faster when they are cut open, but because they tend to turn brown when exposed to air, the lemon or lime juice is there to prevent spoiling.. Cover the avocados in plastic wrap and place in the fridge.
Now you have all you need for a perfect Avocado Banana Bread! Enjoy!