Tips for traveling with bananas
Are you bananas for bananas? But does it drive you bananas when your bananas get smooshed when you travel?
Don’t despair! We’ve collected tips for keeping the world’s best-loved fruit nice and firm while you’re traveling, as well as some ideas for what to do with bananas when they get mushy.
As an initial matter, it helps to pack bananas that are on the green side. When you get to your campsite, put the bananas in a folded paper bag and keep them warm to speed ripening.
On the other hand, if you need to travel with already-ripe bananas, you can store them in Debbie Meyer Green Bags to delay ripening. If you slow the release of gas by wrapping banana stems in plastic wrap, foil, or bee’s wrap (such as this camping-themed wrap), bananas may take a bit longer to ripen. It’s most effective to wrap each banana’s stem individually.
Banana storage containers
A plethora of banana storage containers are now on the market for safe transport, including:
- Yellow, green, and pink plastic containers sold at a low price under a variety of names, such as Merry Bird
- Joie makes an adorable monkey-themed banana pod, at a not-so-low price
- The Tablesto Banana Keeper is a modestly priced option
- The Banana Saver has a camping-appropriate model available with a carabiner!
The rub is that these containers tend to accommodate bananas of typical size and shape—but if your banana is extra-curvy, extra-straight, or extra-large, you’ll have to squash it in, which rather defeats the purpose. The well-reviewed Tupperware Banana Keeper, however, apparently works for bananas of nearly all sizes.
Although banana containers are handy for kids’ lunches, picnics, and the like, the problem when it comes to traveling is that these containers hold just a single banana. One banana won’t stretch very far for a multi-day, multi-person camping trip, especially if Campfire Banana Boats are on the menu!
You could also transport a bunch of bananas in a rectangular container, like a Rubbermaid FreshWorks produce saver, perhaps with a dishtowel thrown in for cushioning, though that option is a bit bulky for camping. Or you could try wrapping bananas in bubble wrap before stashing them in your food bin or bag to prevent bruising.
An entirely different approach is to slice bananas before you leave, douse them with lemon juice, and place them in a container in your cooler. In fact, you can also transport unpeeled bananas in your cooler. Although the skin will darken, the fruit inside will remain delicious, as long as you adequately cushion the bananas against potential jarring inside the cooler.
What to do with mushy bananas?
So what to do if your bananas wind up getting mushy? A few options:
- Mix the bananas into pancake batter
- Make banana fritters over the campfire
- Stir mashed bananas into overnight oats
- Make no-bake/no-freeze banana bread bites
Fun facts about bananas
Before we let you go, here are a few fun facts about bananas, courtesy of National Geographic:
- More than 100 billion bananas are consumed each year
- The word “banana” derives from the Arabic word “banan,” which means “finger”
- Bananas are harvested green, then placed in a room filled with ethylene gas for ripening
- A once-common variety of banana, the Gros Michel, was wiped out by a fungal epidemic in the 1950s
If your appetite for banana-related reading is whetted, try the following:
- Bananas in World History (UC Santa Cruz)
- How Are More Sustainable Bananas Grown (Rainforest Alliance)
- Prepare Yourself for the Bananapocalypse (The Atlantic, 12/19/13)