Knowing whether your bananas are ripe enough for banana bread is the difference between bland bread and sweet bread. Banana bread is a sweet concoction that doubles as a snack or breakfast item. The primary ingredient is bananas; however, the bananas must be very ripe before adding to the batter. Most farmers markets and grocery stores sell bananas that are still green and need to ripen at home. Waiting for bananas to ripen naturally can take days, but you can speed up the process to enjoy banana bread with a few tricks.
Place green bananas in a large brown paper bag and leave the bag at room temperature. The bananas will ripen within the bag over 24 hours. Throughout the 24 hours, check the bag every two to three hours. Banana bread calls for ripe bananas, so the browner the banana, the sweeter the taste.
Add an apple to speed the process even more. Apples release a natural gas called ethylene that induces ripening. Set the apple in the bottom of the bag and place the bananas over the apple. Seal the bag. The bananas should remain bunched. Leave the bag on the kitchen counter for up to one day.
Pre-heat the oven to 149 degrees Celsius. Separate the bananas from the bunch. Put the bananas on a baking tray and place inside the oven. Watch the bananas until the peels turn black and then remove. This will not ripen the bananas; however, it will enhance the sweetness and change the texture of the banana to resemble a ripe banana. Add the banana to the batter as the recipe directs.
Bananas naturally ripen by staying on the countertop or hanging on a banana holder, but this takes about a week. Add the bananas to the batter once the bananas naturally ripen. Do not place unripe bananas into a refrigerator, because this halts the interior ripening process and simply turns the bananas brown. Freeze ripe and unripe bananas to use at a later date. Unfreeze ripe bananas and mash into the batter. Cut or mash unused bananas and freeze for use in smoothies or desserts.