4 Ways to Use Green Bananas That Won't Ripen

two green bananas on wooden cutting board

Treehugger / Alexandra Cristina Nakamura

Buying green bananas, or any unripe fruit for that matter, is a test of faith. You assume that they'll soon turn yellow and be ripe enough to eat. But sometimes you buy green bananas from the store that stubbornly refuse to turn, no matter how long you wait. So what to do? The first thing to try is to place them in a paper bag for a day or two to help the process along. This usually does the trick with unripe avocados too. Ripening fruit gives off ethylene gas, and putting the fruit in a paper bag traps the gas near the fruit, causing it to ripen faster.

several green bananas on brown wooden table

Treehugger / Alexandra Cristina Nakamura

But what if the bananas never turn? Are they a lost cause? Not really. As it turns out, green bananas may be healthier than yellow bananas, because they contain more resistant starch and take longer to digest than yellow bananas, leaving you fuller for longer. That starch turns to sugar as the banana ripens, so green bananas are preferred for anyone limiting their sugar intake. So while it may require slightly more effort than eating a ripe yellow banana, there is plenty to do with the green bananas you have laying around. Here are four things to do with bananas that just won't turn:

1. Make Green Banana Fries

hands cutting green banana on wooden board

Treehugger / Alexandra Cristina Nakamura

Eating green bananas in some parts of the world is perfectly normal, even preferred. And if you're not a fan of the banana-y flavor of bananas, this may be method may solve that issue as well, since green bananas don't have a strong flavor. Just slice up green bananas into fries as you would potatoes or sweet potatoes, fry and you've got yourself an addictive, delicious treat. Full recipe here. Of course, you could also slice them into banana chips and fry them, as in this recipe, similar to plantain chips, a staple in Jamaica and other Caribbean countries. Dehydrating the slices works well too. I've tried them, and they're delicious.

2. Boiled Green Bananas

boiled bananas in brown earthen bowl

Treehugger / Alexandra Cristina Nakamura

Also a staple in Jamaica, boiled green bananas are often eaten with dumplings. These are prepared with the skin on, simply for ease of cooking. Some people may mash up the cooked banana into a mixture similar to mashed potatoes, and some just eat them as they are once they're cooked. Either way, another great option for your stubborn bananas.

3. Baked Green Bananas

baked green bananas with almonds in blue casserole

Treehugger / Alexandra Cristina Nakamura

Any recipe that you can use for plantains, you can use for green bananas. Plantains are a relative of bananas and can really only be eaten cooked. For a no-fuss way to eat your green bananas quick, try baking them with a little bit of olive oil and salt.

4. Throw Them in a Smoothie

blueberry green banana smoothie

Treehugger / Alexandra Cristina Nakamura

When it doubt, make a smoothie! As long as you have a strong blender, you can take those green bananas and throw them into your morning smoothie. This recipe calls for dates to add sweetness, but I've found that you can add sweetness by adding sweet fruit like mangoes, peaches or blueberries. You won't even be able to taste the green banana, and you'll still be getting all the health benefits.

Whichever route you go, take comfort in knowing that you won't be tossing those green bananas out, and you may even buy them on purpose next time.