It's one of your favorite fruits, but does it belong on the counter or in the refrigerator?
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ripe bananas on kitchen counter
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Bananas are a beloved fruit, and it's easy to see why: They make everything from a smoothie or quick bread an irresistible treat. Even though they are often left on the kitchen countertop, ready to grab for an on-the-go snack, that might not be the proper way to store them. Should you actually be putting bananas in the refrigerator? Ahead, a food expert explains which storage method is best for this fruit.

Refrigerate Your Bananas Once They're Ripe

Simply put, you should only put your bananas in the refrigerator after they are as ripe as you like them to get. "Bananas can be stored on a kitchen counter until they are ripe, and then they can be stored in the refrigerator for at least two days more or until the skin becomes black," says Tamika Sims, PhD, the senior director of food technology communications at the International Food Information Council. Want to store bananas for even longer periods of time? Then you're in luck. Peel the banana when it is ripe and place it in a freezer bag or freezer-friendly, airtight container and it will last for up to one month.

Know That Flavors Will Change If a Banana Is Refrigerated Too Soon

"Notice that bananas are not stored in refrigerators in the grocery store," Sims says. "If you put your banana in the refrigerator too soon it could contribute to "chilling injury," which causes the bananas to have a bitter flavor, discoloration, and failure to ripen, according to the United States Department of Agriculture.

Bananas with Broken Peels Should Be Avoided

It could be time to toss out your banana if you see excessive bruising. Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), this could mean that it's about to spoil (or could already be spoiled). "Additionally, broken peels (or skin) on produce can allow the fruit to be contaminated with microbial pests," Sims notes. "Also, a black banana that is overly soft or has an off smell should be discarded."

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