Are you trying to figure out how to ripen bananas fast, either because they're underripe or because you need them to be overripe for a recipe? Things like banana bread and pancakes and muffins need bananas to be at a certain ripeness for cooking and baking, but luckily for you, there are several ways of ripening bananas quickly if you have underripe bananas or need bananas further along in the ripening process for your meal or snack.
How to Ripen Bananas Quickly
There are a few ways to get ripened bananas or overripe bananas without waiting for them to naturally sit around and ripen.
"As [a banana] ripens, it releases ethylene, a natural plant hormone in the form of a gas, Culinary Hill explains. "You can use that ethylene to your advantage when you have a bunch of green bananas that you're hoping to eat sooner rather than later."
1. Warm Them Up
One way to get ripe bananas is by putting them in a warm spot like a sunny window or by a heating vent. That's still pretty natural, but you are helping them along by moving them somewhere to speed up the process.
2. The Banana Bunch
Did you know that keeping bananas in a bunch helps them ripen faster? It's true! If you have some slightly unripe bananas, let them stay together and they'll help each other ripen.
3. Brown Bag It
Placing bananas in a brown paper bag can help them ripen. Just set them in a bag and close loosely, allowing the ethylene gas to build up inside. Then, just check the bananas every now and again to see if they're ready to go!
4. Warm Them Up...Even More
If you need your bananas to ripen really, really fast, you can warm them up in the oven. First, preheat your oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit, and once it's ready, put your unpeeled bananas on a baking sheet. (Some sites recommend using a foil-lined baking sheet). Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, checking frequently for the bananas to turn black. When they do, they're ripe!
5. Zap Them
Finally, you can use the microwave to ripen bananas, but Culinary Hill notes this method won't make them any sweeter. If that doesn't matter to you, Spoon University says to use a fork or knife to poke through the skin of the peel of a banana a few times on all sides, then put the banana in the microwave for 30 seconds. Let it cool a little, then check if it's at the softness you want. Microwave for an additional 30 seconds until you've got the banana to the ripeness you'd like.
Whatever method works for you, enjoy whatever you make with your mushy bananas!