It’s happened to the best of us: You want to bake a loaf of your favorite banana bread, but the fruit staring back at you is decidedly green. If you don’t have ripe backups in the freezer and don’t want to run to the store, worry not. We’ve got two sure-fire ways to ripen bananas in less than an hour (really).
Use the oven: A 300° oven will transform a green banana into a perfectly mushy, sweet one in about 30 minutes. Simply place the bananas (with their skins intact) onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. (The paper is important—leaking sugars will create a hard-to-clean mess.) When the skins turn dark brown and the bananas are soft to the touch, remove from the oven and allow to cool. Then just cut off an end and let your Little Sous have a blast squeezing the banana goo into a bowl.
Use an egg yolk: This method from Serious Eats might seem odd, but once you understand the science behind it, it makes perfect sense. Bananas naturally ripen thanks to ethylene gas and a few enzymes that break down starches and turn the skin brown. One of those enzymes, amylase, is responsible for turning starch into sugar. Luckily, amylase is found in egg yolks—and mashing under-ripe bananas with an egg yolk can deliver a sweet, ripe fruit in about 30 minutes. Little Sous Tip: The key here is getting the most surface area exposed to the yolk, so ask your child to help by mashing and poking holes all over the unripe banana. As it softens, come back once or twice to mash again. You’ll have sweet, ready-to-use bananas in no time!
Did you know? Little Sous offers a monthly themed kids cooking kit that will help your family connect in the kitchen. Check out our subscription options!