The year was 2020. I was homebound with nowhere to go, nowhere to be. The sky was ablaze with the fire of the setting sun, casting long shadows on the ground. I was making a banana cake – courtesy of a viral recipe I’d found on TikTok.
The cake turned out perfect except for a tiny hiccup. The sliced banana pieces I had meticulously placed on top turned brown. The aesthetics were compromised, but the cake tasted heavenly.
A couple of weeks later, when I recreated this cake for my mom’s birthday, I used a simple hack I found on the good old internet to prevent the sliced bananas from turning brown once cut.
In this blog, I’ll tell you what I did and a couple of other methods to keep the sliced bananas from oxidizing.
Table Of Content
How To Keep Bananas From Turning Brown Once Cut?
The best way to keep bananas from turning brown once cut is to toss the banana slices in some lemon juice. Coating the entire piece, especially the cut sides, will prevent the banana slices from turning brown.
This is what I did to the banana toppings on my cake.
Naturally, the bananas had a sour taste but in a nice way.
There are a couple of other tricks you can pull to prevent the bananas from turning black. We’ll discuss them below. But before that, here’s a quick look at why bananas go brown when cut.
Why Do Bananas Turn Brown After Peeling?
When you cut bananas, the oxygen in the air oxidizes the enzyme present in the fruit, turning it brown to protect it and make it unattractive to pests and animals.
So, when you peel a sliced banana, the cells break open to release phenols and enzymes. The phenols and enzymes react to each other and to the oxygen to create a biochemical reaction. In turn, this reaction produces melanin, resulting in the browning of the fruit.
The thick, protective peel of the banana fruit keeps it from going brown. As soon as the peel is gone, the oxidation effect kicks in.
How To Keep Bananas From Turning Brown Once Cut? 5 Things You Can Do!
Coat The Bananas In Fruit Juice
The acidity present in fruit juice creates a protective layer on the cut fruit and prevents it from oxidizing. Of course, the juice will alter the banana’s taste slightly, but this is a quite effective and all-natural technique to keep the bananas from browning.
I used lemon juice. You can use lime, orange, pineapple, apple, or grapefruit juice as well. You can buy 100% juice and fruit concentrate or squeeze your own and sprinkle it on top of the slices.
If you’re worried the bananas will become too tangy, you can dilute the juice. I’d recommend a 1-to-1 ratio of water and juice.
Dip The Bananas In Soda Water
Like fruit juice, soda water can create a protective barrier between the banana and the oxygen – slowing the oxidation process. According to those who have tried this trick, it doesn’t alter the banana’s flavor in any way.
So, if you are serving bananas to picky eaters like my little ones, you might want to use this hack. You can simply sprinkle some soda over the bananas or dip them for a few seconds in soda before serving.
Bear in mind to use soda water or club soda. Don’t use tonic water since it has a strong and dominant flavor profile that doesn’t complement bananas.
Sprinkle Citric Acid Over Sliced Bananas
Citric acid occurs naturally in citrus fruits like limes, lemons, and oranges. It is what gives them a tart, sour taste.
Citric acid is often available in powder form since it’s used as an additive in food, nutritional supplements, and cleaning agents.
Make sure you buy food-grade citric acid like this one.
Mix a teaspoon or two of citric acid in cold water and give it a good stir. Next, sprinkle the citric acid mix over the bananas or dip the sliced bananas in the solution.
Sweeten The Bananas With Honey
Honey works the same way as fruit juice or citric acid to prevent the bananas from browning – creating a protective barrier.
Also, honey will contribute to a sweeter taste and a stickier texture. You can mix 2 tablespoons of honey with 1 cup of water and pour the solution over the sliced bananas.
If you have a sweet tooth like me, you can add a pinch of cinnamon and brown sugar for a delightful, sweet snack.
Dip Banana Slices In Diluted Vinegar
You can also use diluted vinegar to keep the banana slices from browning. Similar to fruit juice, diluted vinegar creates an acidic barrier to hinder oxidization.
Add 2 teaspoons of vinegar to a cup of cold water and dip the slices for a couple of minutes. If the bananas become too sour, you can rinse them before eating.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Long Does It Take For A Cut Banana To Turn Brown?
It only takes a few minutes before the bananas turn brown once cut. Also, the warmer the temperature, the faster the bananas turn brown.
However, if you’ve dipped the bananas in an acidic solution like lemon or pineapple juice, they can last for hours before turning brown. They will taste a bit tart, though.
Will Pineapple Juice Keep Bananas From Turning Brown?
Yes, pineapple juice can keep bananas from turning brown. This is because the acid present in the pineapple juice lowers the bananas’ pH and prevents enzymatic browning.
You can dilute the juice with water to prevent the pineapples from being too tarty.
Will Orange Juice Keep Bananas From Turning Brown?
Since orange juice contains citric acid, it keeps the bananas from turning brown by lowering the pH and preventing enzymatic browning.
For enzymatic browning to occur, the polyphenols should react with oxygen. However, if you add citric acid like orange juice, the oxygen reacts with something else and prevents enzymatic browning. That’s why orange juice is known as an antioxidant.
Can You Slice Bananas Ahead Of Time?
Yes, you can slice bananas ahead of time, but they’ll most likely turn brown if you don’t coat them in citric acid. You can then store the banana slices in the fridge in an airtight container.
How Do You Pack Sliced Bananas For Lunch?
Keep the peels on even though you slice the bananas. Next, place them in an airtight bag.
Also, a mom on Facebook shared that she dips the cut banana in orange juice before packing it for lunch. So I guess if you don’t mind your bananas tasting slightly like orange juice, this hack could be nifty.
What Can You Do With Overripe Bananas?
Overripe bananas don’t look pretty, but by no means are they inedible. If you don’t want to eat an overripe banana, you can use it to make treats like banana muffins, banana bread, and ice cream.
Final Words: How To Keep Bananas From Turning Brown Once Cut?
Bananas, like most fruits, turn brown once peeled. This happens because the oxygen in the air oxidizes the various enzymes in the fruit.
Coating the sliced banana pieces with the juice of citrus fruit will prevent them from turning brown. You could also use honey, diluted vinegar, citric acid, and soda water.