How To Ripen Bananas Quickly For Banana Bread

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The best part about banana bread is that it's a delicious way to repurpose bananas that have over-ripened and turned black. But if you're in the mood to bake banana bread and all you have are fresh, yellow bananas, how can you ripen them quickly?

There are a few different methods for browning bananas. Our friend and author of Kate the Chemist: The Awesome Book of Edible Experiments for Kids, Dr. Kate Biberdorf, shares an easy-to-follow experiment that's the perfect indoor activity for curious kids. Even better? At the end, the whole family gets to enjoy a freshly-baked, sweet and healthy treat!


  • 7 fresh bananas  
  • Permanent marker  
  • Paper bag  
  • Tape  
  • Fork  
  • Microwave  
  • Oven  
  • Baking sheet  
  • Butter for greasing pan (or nonstick cooking spray)  
  • 9x5-inch bread pan  
  • Mixing bowl  
  • ½ cup butter, softened  
  • ¾ cup brown sugar  
  • 2 eggs  
  • ½ cup buttermilk 
  • ¾ teaspoon vanilla  
  • 2 medium bowls  
  • 2 cups flour  
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda  
  • ¼ teaspoon salt  
  • Cooling rack 


First, label the outsides of 3 fresh bananas with a permanent marker as A, B and C. Record the appearance and firmness of each banana (and take a picture, if possible). 

Experiment A (Brown Paper Bag):

  1. Place Banana A into a brown bag.  
  2. Roll the edges of the bag over gently and loosely tape it shut. Set aside for 24 hours.  
  3. After 24 hours, remove the banana from the bag and compare its appearance to your before photo.  
  4. Peel the banana and analyze the appearance, firmness and taste of Banana A. 

Experiment B (Microwave): 

  1. Poke a few holes in Banana B with a fork.  
  2. Microwave Banana B for 30 seconds.  
  3. Flip the banana over and microwave for 15 seconds longer.  
  4. Remove the banana from the microwave and compare its appearance to your before photo.  
  5. Peel the banana and analyze the appearance, firmness, and taste of Banana B. 

Experiment C (Oven):

  1. Heat the oven to 300°F.  
  2. Place Banana C on a baking sheet and bake for 20–30 minutes (or until the banana peel is black).  
  3. Remove the banana from the oven and compare its appearance to your before photo.  
  4. Peel the banana and analyze the appearance, firmness, and taste of Banana C. 

Banana Bread:

  1. Compare your results to determine which banana had the sweetest taste.  
  2. Repeat the technique that produced the sweetest banana for 4 fresh bananas. Leave the bananas in the peel (for now). We will use these bananas for the rest of the experiment.  
  3. Take the butter out of the refrigerator and set aside.  
  4. Heat the oven to 350°F.  
  5. Rub the bread pan with butter (or spray with nonstick cooking spray).  
  6. In the mixing bowl, cream together the butter and brown sugar by hand (or with an electric mixer). 
  7. Add the eggs and stir.  
  8. Add the buttermilk and vanilla and stir.  
  9. Peel the 4 newly prepared bananas and put them into one of the medium bowls.  
  10. Use a fork to mash the bananas.  
  11. Add the bananas to the butter and sugar mixture and stir until you have a homogenous mixture, where everything looks completely mixed together. 
  12. In a separate mixing bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, and salt.  
  13. Add half of the flour mixture to the banana mixture and stir.  
  14. Add the remaining flour mixture and stir.  
  15. Pour the mixture into the prepared bread pan.  
  16. Bake the bread for 60–75 minutes (or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean).  
  17. Allow the bread to cool for 15 minutes.  
  18. Remove the bread from the pan and place it on a cooling rack.  
  19. Allow it to cool completely before enjoying your bread!

MORE FROM KATE THE CHEMIST: You + Your Kids Will Both *LOVE* This Rainbow Pasta Experiment

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