Why Are My Bananas Still Green After 2 Weeks Or More?

For banana lovers, few things are more frustrating than waiting weeks for green bananas to ripen, only to find they remain stubbornly unready. You bought them bright green expecting delicious, sweet and creamy fruits after a few days. Yet days later, those bananas stay emerald green with not a spot of yellow.

What’s going on? Read on to uncover the common causes behind bananas’ delayed ripening and greenness, and what you can do to spur them along. With some simple tips and tricks, you’ll be enjoying perfectly ripe and sweet bananas again in no time.

1. Shopping For Unripe Bananas Intentionally or Accidentally

The most obvious reason your bananas are still green is that you bought them under-ripe intentionally or unintentionally.

If you’re one who prefers firmer bananas for baking or freezing for smoothies, you likely select the greenest bunches you can find. They need room to ripen gradually once home. The greener the banana, the longer this ripening will take – often dragging on for weeks.

For others, it’s accidental. You grab a nice looking bunch from the store, only to later find they were far greener than anticipated under those peels. Remember, colour alone doesn’t indicate ripeness. Squeeze gently to gauge.

Either way, green bananas need time and the right conditions before their starch converts to sugar, chlorophyll breaks down, and their peel turns increasingly yellow. Bringing home very unripe bananas inevitably means waiting longer for ripeness.

2. Improper Storage Temperatures and Conditions

Bananas are tropical fruits that thrive in warm environments. If you stash your green bananas someplace cool or cold, ripening may drag on and on.

The ideal temperature range for ripening is 64-77°F. Below this, ripening slows. In the crisper drawer or fridge, temperatures are too low for good ripening. On the countertop in a drafty area or during winter, it’s often too cool as well.

Proper humidity is also key for banana ripening. Low humidity causes the peel to dry out. High humidity promotes rot. Both extremes hinder the ripening process. Storing bananas in sealed bags creates excess humidity while placing unbagged in dry rooms lacks sufficient moisture.

For green bananas to turn yellow at a normal pace, warmth and moderate humidity are essential. Suboptimal conditions lead to delayed color change and ripening.

3. Purchasing Bananas Treated to Delay Ripening

Some growers and shippers now treat bananas to slow the ripening process and extend shelf-life. Typically, they bathe unripe green bunches in ethylene gas before shipping to retailers.

Ethylene triggers ripening in many fruits. By pre-exposing bananas to it, they become desensitized. This means once at home, natural ethylene the fruits produce cannot bind to receptors to instigate ripening.

As a result, the peels remain stubbornly green long after purchase. Most retailers don’t indicate if their bananas underwent such treatment. So it’s impossible to know if that’s the cause of your persistently green bunch.

Just know treated green bananas can’t respond to ethylene and require more time before finally ripening. Two weeks of greenness is not uncommon.

4. Natural Differences Between Cultivars

Not all bananas are equal when it comes to the ripening process. Some naturally take longer to go from green to yellow. Varietal differences account for some stubbornly slow bunches.

Cavendish is the most common banana cultivar. But dozens exist, and they all have distinct ripening behaviors. Plantains, Manzano, and Lady Fingers, for example, are late ripeners. Their thick skins and firm flesh transform gradually over weeks.

If you normally buy Cavendish but tried a new variety, that could explain green bananas past the usual ripening timeframe. Check the sticker or ask your grocer to pick the fastest ripening variety next time.

5. Harvesting Bananas Too Green

Bananas are unique fruits that are picked while still unripe and green. Ripening only happens once off the tree. Growers aim to harvest bunches at an optimal maturation stage, but it’s not an exact science.

Overly green bananas are harder and slower to ripen. They may require weeks before reaching ideal yellow sweetness. If growers harvest bunches too early, excess greenness at purchase means you wait longer for ripe fruit.

There’s no way to know if your bananas were harvested prematurely. But if the peel and flesh feel extra hard, that’s a sign they may have been picked too green. Time and patience are needed for these bananas to finish the ripening process.

6. Failing to Initiate the Ripening Process

You can’t simply wait for green bananas to ripen on their own time. To spur them along, you have to initiate the ripening process once home from the store.

Exposing green bananas to ethylene gas is what stimulates ripening and color change. Using a banana ripener device or placing in a paper bag adds ethylene so they ripen faster.

Without this ethylene boost, unripe green bananas can stall indefinitely, refusing to turn yellow or become sweet and soft. Always take active steps to kickstart ripening for the speediest results.

If your green bananas have been sitting ignored for weeks, they need ethylene to end their stubborn greenness.

Encouraging Faster Ripening of Green Bananas

By now you understand why your bananas remain green after two or more weeks. While frustrating, there are thankfully ways to spur slower ripening bananas along and enjoy them sooner.

Here are tips to make your green bananas to yellow faster.

1. Move Bananas to a Warmer Area

As mentioned, cool temperatures retard the ripening process. If your kitchen or home lacks sufficient warmth, banana ripening stalls.

Relocating bananas to a warmer spot is an easy fix. Move green bunches to the warmest spot in your home, ideally 75-85°F if possible. Near appliances like the oven or dishwasher is perfect.

You can also wrap bananas in a towel or blanket to retain warmth. Just monitor closely and remove once ripening initiates, as trapped heat speeds up ripening. The goal is gentle warmth to jumpstart, not accelerate, the process.

2. Increase Humidity Around Bananas

While excess humidity causes issues, too little moisture also impedes ripening. Help green bananas along by increasing humidity in their environment.

Place bananas in a perforated plastic produce bag tied loosely. The openings allow airflow while retaining some ethylene and moisture. You can also drape a damp towel over the bunch.

Once yellowing begins, remove added humidity so peels don’t get mushy. Balancing warmth and humidity optimizes the pace of banana ripening.

3. Enclose Bananas in a Paper Bag

Paper bags create a mini ripening chamber, exposing bananas to ethylene gas naturally emitted by the fruits. The trapped gas initiates ripening and color change.

Place green bananas in a bag alone or add an apple, tomato or even a ripe banana to increase ethylene. Fold the top over rather than sealing entirely.

Check daily and remove bananas once they reach desired ripeness. Don’t overexpose to ethylene or ripening happens too quickly.

4. Use a Banana Ripening Device

Specialty banana ripening devices are designed to expose still-green bananas to ethylene for accelerated ripening.

The gadget emits a calibrated dose of ethylene gas, triggering the ripening process without risk of overexposure. Bananas yellow in a controlled timeframe of just days.

Ripening devices take the guesswork out of getting green bananas ripe fast. For stubbornly green bananas, it’s an easy and effective solution.

5. Try a Faster Ripening Cultivar Next Time

If variety seems to be the issue, buy faster ripening bananas next grocery trip. Cavendish and Apple bananas turn yellow quickest. Ripe in four days on the counter.

Avoid slow-ripening cultivars like Plantains and Manzanos if you want bananas to yellow sooner after bringing home. Stick to quick ripening varieties.

6. Select Better Ripeness When Purchasing

Ripeness begins on the tree, so bananas harvested overmature green never ripen well. Choose bunches with some pale green or yellow colour instead of hard, dark green fruit.

Avoid bunches with split skin, bruising or mold. Optimal ripeness has a very light floral aroma. Underripe bananas lack fragrance.

7. Ripen at Room Temperature

Once home, leave bananas at room temperature on the counter to ripen. Don’t refrigerate or chill. Cool temperatures suspend ripening. 65-75°F is optimal.

If your home lacks sufficient warmth, you can create a DIY chamber using a cooler, storage bin or insulated bag. Place a heating pad or low-watt light bulb inside to gently warm and promote ripening.

8. Be Patient!

While these tips help rush stubbornly green bananas along, patience is still required. Bananas ripen on their own schedule. Resist sampling or prodding them daily.

Leave bananas alone for several days until softened and fragrant. Even with tricks like ethylene and heat, full ripening takes time. Let nature run its course for delicious ready-to-eat bananas.

Signs Your Green Bananas Are Finally Ripening

Waiting for bananas to ripen can feel endless. While it requires patience, there are clear signs the ripening process is finally happening.

Here’s what to look for:

1. Yellow Spots and Patches Appear on Peel

The most obvious ripening indicator is yellow color. Green chlorophyll in the peel slowly breaks down as starch transforms to sugar inside.

Yellowing begins at the blossom end. Spots and patches signal ripening is initiating. Once yellowing starts, full color change happens rapidly over 24-48 hours.

2. Aroma Develops

Unripe green bananas have no fragrance. As they ripen, bananas emit ethylene gas. This ripening hormone gives the fruits a distinctive aroma.

When bananas start to smell sweet and flowery, ripening is underway. Bunch them together to increase ethylene and scent.

3. Peel Loosens and Textures Softens

Pressure or pinching unripe bananas causes no indentation. Ripe banana peels feel loose and pliable rather than taut.

As pectin and starches breakdown inside, texture softens dramatically. Flesh goes from rock hard and crunchy to pillowy and creamy.

4. Bananas Darken Post-Ripening

At their peak ripeness, banana peels turn solid yellow with a few brown flecks. Further dark spots signal overripe fruit with softened texture.

A speckled appearance means maximum sweetness before the starch turns to sugar. Enjoy ASAP once brown spots appear to prevent fermentation.

4. Tracking Ripening Progress

Determining true ripeness level without peeling requires a combination of assessing external signs plus touch and aroma cues.

Use a rankings system:

  1. = All green
  2. = Green with some yellow
  3. = More yellow than green
  4. = All yellow with green tips
  5. = Yellow with brown spots

When bananas reach level 4-5, they’re perfect for immediate eating. Track stages so you know precisely when yours are ripe and ready.

Wrapping Up

There could be several reasons why your bananas are still green after two weeks or more. Factors such as temperature, humidity, and ripeness at the time of purchase can all play a role in the ripening process.

It’s important to store bananas at room temperature and away from direct sunlight to allow them to ripen naturally. Additionally, bananas can be placed in a paper bag with a ripe fruit, such as an apple or avocado, to speed up the ripening process.

When it comes to ripening, the best thing to do is be patient. There are several signs that indicate when bananas are ripe and ready to eat, such as yellow spots on the peel, a sweet aroma, and a soft texture. So, keep an eye out for these and enjoy your sweet, ripe bananas soon!

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