The ability to freeze bananas just before they go bad has made for some fantastic banana breads. Like avocados, when you buy a ripe banana, you're looking at a very short window before they start to brown and soften. Luckily with bananas, when they're softer, they're sweeter, and you can halt them right at that sweet spot until you have time to create a delicious banana dessert like non-dairy ice cream or wholesome banana muffins. When it comes to freezing bananas for smoothies, there are a few ways to best avoid freezer burn. We have those tips, plus 10 veggie and fruity banana smoothie recipes you can choose from to get inspired.
Freezing Bananas for Smoothies: Top 3 Methods
Sometimes people toss overripe bananas into the freezer ASAP just to stop the breakdown that could soon make them slimy and inedible. If you've ever done that, you may have later wished you'd checked with Google first or thought to take off the peel! When an unpeeled banana is frozen, you have to wait for the whole fruit to thaw before you can work with it again. This is one of those tips that seems so obvious after the fact but might never occur to you at the moment it matters most. Here are some more thoughts on freezing bananas for smoothies.
1. Halved or Whole Bananas
If you do end up with a frozen, unpeeled banana, you only have to let it thaw and you can still carefully peel it. However, you can peel a banana a lot more quickly before it's frozen, and still toss it into the freezer without much time wasted. Here's how.
- Peel. Remove those peels and the fibrous strings if you don't want them (they're called phloem bundles, and they're actually just as nutritious as the fruit itself, so don't bother to discard them if you don't mind them). Either leave your bananas whole or break them in half to maximize freezer space.
- Wrap. If you freeze multiple bananas or halves side by side, they'll end up sticking together. It would be counterproductive to remove the peels only to end up with one frozen, naked bundle of bananas, so we recommend you wrap or wind them in wax or parchment paper to keep them separated.
- Seal. Place these individually separated bananas into a freezer-safe bag, and try to get as much air out as possible before you place it in the freezer. The more air there is, the more room for freezer burn to accumulate. In fact, if you're only freezing one banana or don't have any wax paper, plastic wrap closely sealed around the fruit can work in a pinch. By the time you need them, you can quickly unwind and drop these bananas into a food processor with some almond or coconut milk to make banana ice cream or, as it's ever-so-sweetly known, non-dairy "nice cream."
2. Banana Slices, Pieces, or Chunks
Slicing, dicing, or breaking up these fruits into banana pieces takes a little extra time, but it also allows you to freeze a bunch of smaller pieces that you can portion out later as needed. Here are the relevant tips.
- Slice. It's your choice whether you want pretty banana slices or hand-separated banana chunks, but the first step is to cut or break them into smaller bits.
- Pre-freeze. To keep these little banana pieces in a freezer bag together without ending up with a big banana rock, they need to be pre-frozen. Place the chunks or slices single-layer onto a cookie sheet, and pop them in the freezer for about 30 minutes until they are frozen hard.
- Bundle. Remove your baking sheet of frozen banana bits and gather all those pieces into a ziplock plastic bag, then freeze for the last time. The prep time is a little longer, but those banana slices will be all the easier for making milkshakes later, or for dipping into melted chocolate chips to turn into healthy treats for kids.
3. Puréed or Mashed Banana
If you know you're going to be doing some banana baking, peeled and mashed bananas stored in the freezer may be the best way to go. They'll thaw a little faster and be perfectly ready to mix and fold into dough or peanut butter for cookies. However, for smoothies, the best method for freezing bananas may be to purée them first. Here are the steps.
- Blend. Peel those bananas and blend them all up, maybe with a little non-dairy milk alternative to make the mixture as smooth as possible.
- Portion. Dole out your purée into ice trays to pre-freeze them into convenient ice cubes.
- Freeze. Once they're solidified in ice cube form, break your banana cubes out of the trays and place them in a freezer bag for easy access.
Top 10 Banana Smoothie Recipes: Veggie, Fruity, and Tasty
Despite the name, we here at VeggieShake are no strangers to fruity smoothies. We've developed health shake formulas for All-in-One and Daily Boost powder supplements using vegetables like kale and spinach and fruits like pomegranates, açaí, and blueberries. In addition, we've also got tons of smoothie recipes that hide veggies under fruit, and plenty more that are dedicated to fruit alone. Here are our top 10 banana smoothie recipes, sectioned for veggie shakes, fruity shakes, and a few truly unique tasty blends.
Some people love Brussels sprouts just as they are, and some people have a hard time getting them down without a little help. Enter: the Simple, Delicious, Cleansing Brussels Sprouts Smoothie recipe. We've combined this cruciferous vegetable with the superfood kale, coconut water, lemon juice, and one frozen banana to smooth out this green blend. Full of plant fiber and anti-inflammatory antioxidants, if you can drink your Brussels sprouts and they can go down easy, maybe you won't mind them so much.
Here's a veggie shake that's even easier to imbibe, so much so that it's designed to sneak veggies into kids, especially if they're picky eaters. With frozen bananas lending a milkshake-like consistency, this recipe combines zucchini, walnuts, coconut milk, healthy coconut sugar, and some ground cinnamon together in one big gulp. Zucchini is full of vitamins A, B6, C, and K, plus minerals like manganese and potassium that are excellent for growing bones.
A balm to calm your mind and boost your immune system, this fruit smoothie brings together pineapple, strawberry, and banana to build up your vitamin C levels. Coconut milk and MCT oil are the liquid components that make this fruit salad a beverage—two ingredients that can aid weight loss and boost energy.
This dairy-free version of strawberry milk combines frozen strawberries and bananas with coconut and almond milk to recreate a childhood favorite. Bright pink and delicious, a couple of tablespoons of cocoa powder, a few dates, and a dash of vanilla make it extra sweet without even a single granule of refined sugar. It also includes MCT oil for a richer texture. MCT oil helps fill you up between meals and cuts down on unnecessary calorie consumption.
Another dairy-free delight, this one in the very berry category. Designed to serve as a meal replacement shake for breakfast or an afternoon pick-me-up, it combines blackberries and blueberries with a frozen banana, a quarter-cup of oats, cashew milk, and a tablespoon of lucuma powder, a natural sweetener from Peru.
Soothe your tummy and ease your digestion with this sweet treat. It comes with blueberries, our good friend the frozen banana, coconut milk, cacao nibs, and cinnamon and vanilla extract included for gastrointestinal support. Cacao nibs can help improve your bowel regularity, vanilla and cinnamon bring anti-inflammatory effects in the gut, and the fruits provide the natural fiber that cuts down on bloating and relieves constipation.
With frozen banana, bright, beautiful persimmons, apple juice, and a dusting of nutmeg, this fall fruit smoothie is an excellent, healthy replacement for holiday eggnog since it uses inflammation-busting MCT oil and almond milk to keep you comfortable all winter long. Tell your friends, tell your neighbors: this is the new spiced cider on the block.
Neither fruit nor vegetable, peanut butter joins together with its classic pal banana in this dessert-like tasty shake. With cacao nibs for antioxidants, hemp seeds and hemp milk for protein, and a dash of DHA oil for extra omega-3 fatty acid content, you've never had a supplement that tastes so good. We guarantee it.
This vegan health shake combines ginger and frozen banana along with almond milk and supplemental spices like cinnamon and cardamom. Ginger is anti-inflammatory, cinnamon useful for regulating blood sugar levels, and cardamom has been shown to help reduce blood pressure levels, a leading risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
One last banana bonanza: a frozen banana combined with its cousin the plantain, and blended up with cold brew coffee, dark chocolate-covered almonds, almond milk, and vanilla extract. What a rich way to say good morning to the world, with all the potassium, energy-boosting caffeine, and plant protein you need to be on the ball all day long.
This Shake Is Bananas
If you see a deal on bunches of bananas, don't hesitate to stock up. You can quickly and easily freeze fresh bananas and have them on hand for months and months of smoothies so diverse you never have enough time to tire of them.