What Happens If You Refrigerate Bananas

They come in their own packaging, and they make for funny props. They're delicious, nutritious, and find their way into seemingly every kitchen and fruit basket on the planet, and no one seems to agree on whether or not they should be refrigerated: It's bananas.

For many, these long, yellow, versatile fruits seem to be a core member of Team Doesn't Belong in the Fridge — but is that correct? From peanut butter to bread to onions, the foods people deem worthy of refrigerator space or condemn to the pantry is often due to conflicting information heard over the years. But it can be pretty confusing, given the many ways you can store food and how there seems to be a best method for each.

As for bananas and refrigeration, the Foods Guy reports that the most important thing to keep in mind when preserving bananas is their tropical origin. According to Banana Link, bananas are grown all around the world, but more specifically around the equator where climates are hot and humid during the growing seasons.

Bananas are especially sensitive to heated and damp conditions, both of which will cause them to ripen at an accelerated rate, turning green bananas yellow and yellow bananas brown. Refrigerating a banana introduces it to a colder, drier environment, which slows the ripening process significantly.

When you should refrigerate bananas

So, if your bananas are at a perfect shade of yellow and you want to keep them from ripening any further, refrigerating them is a perfectly viable and safe option. In fact, refrigeration is the ideal option for banana storage, although the fruit may end up a bit colder than usual, as the Foods Guy explains. It's also worth noting that although the fruit inside will remain fresh, the peels of the banana may get spots and begin to turn brown in the fridge, a phenomenon that may explain some peoples' aversion to refrigerated bananas.

Peeled bananas are also okay to store in the refrigerator, but require some additional preparation. According to Food & Wine, peeled bananas will go brown because of their exposure to the oxygen in the air, this is the same reason apples will also go brown when cut and left out. To avoid the browning of both apples and bananas, just coat the fruit in some lemon juice; this will stop the oxidation of certain compounds in the fruit and halt the browning.

Taking it one step further, freezing is another great way of preserving bananas for later uses, particularly smoothie-making. Frozen bananas will keep up to six months and will thaw good as new, just remember to peel them before freezing them. Not for any health reason, it's just really hard to peel a frozen banana.