Unlike berries, stone fruit, and apples, which hit their peak at specific times of the year, you can pick up a bunch of bananas just about any time and taste the same sweet, creamy bite. The trick is knowing how to pick the best hand (another word for bunch) of bananas from the grocery store, and these five tips will make it a whole lot easier.
1. First, pay attention to color.
Relying on visual cues is the best way to pick the perfect hand of bananas. Every banana in the bunch should have a vibrant, bright-yellow color with a little bit of green at each end.
2. Let your timeframe dictate color and ripeness.
To ensure bananas are at peak ripeness when you dig in, the best plan of action is to have a rough of idea of when you'll eat them.
- For immediate eating: Choose bright-yellow bananas with little to no green around the ends. Some light brown speckling, a sign of ripeness and sweetness, is okay.
- For eating in a couple of days: Choose bright-yellow bananas with more green at the ends. Stored at room temperature, they'll ripen over a couple of days.
3. Look for full, plump bananas.
Immature bananas start off firm and soften as they become ripe. Look for bananas that are full and plump (with a somewhat firm texture) and peels, stems, and tips that are fully intact.
4. Avoid bananas that are bruised or split.
While some speckled brown spots are okay, avoid bananas with deep, sunken dark spots on the peel. It's typically an indicator that the flesh is bruised. The same goes for any fruit with a split peel.
5. Avoid bananas with dull gray undertones.
Even if there are no brown spots or bruises, skip over bananas whose yellow peel carries a dull gray hue. This drab coloring can be an indicator that the fruit might have been stored at an especially cold temperature or overheated. As a result it won't ripen properly, which ultimately affects the banana's overall taste and texture.