There is a banana in my freezer and it's starting to alarm me. If I'd had any sense, I'd have read my colleague's story about how to store bananas before I tossed a bunch in there willy nilly, but there we go. I wasn't exactly trying to store the bananas, though; I was attempting to freeze the bananas to use them in smoothies. I figured that if I deployed frozen bananas and berries, I could use little-to-no ice, which my nutritionist tells me is just filler. Coolcoolcool—but I should have peeled the bananas first.
Here's what happens when you freeze a banana with the peel on: It gets gross really fast. The peel turns black—which OK fine—but then you have to separate the peel from the flesh. That gets nasty pretty quickly, becoming increasingly slimy as you go, and not coming away cleanly. A little bit of warm water helps the process along slightly, but also defeats the purpose of freezing the dang thing in the first place. A knife can finish the job, but inevitably some of the banana is lost in the process, and it all this agita could have been avoided in the first place, pretty easily.
If you want to forestall the grossness of slimy frozen banana peels, take them off first. Then cut the bananas into slices and put them in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with waxed or parchment paper so they don't stick together. If you cut them thickly, they'll take longer to freeze, but you can fit more banana on the tray. If you cut them thinly, they'll solidify pretty quickly, but take up more surface space. Work in batches if you need to, and cover them with a layer of plastic wrap. When they have frozen solid, remove them from the sheet and store them in freezer-safe bags or containers for up to six months.
But you'll likely find plenty of uses for your frozen bananas long before that. The aforementioned smoothies are a grand time, but they're also a delight in baked goods, tropical cocktails, ice cream recipes, or as an icy dessert all on their own. Just take those frozen banana chunks and whip them in the blender or food processor until they're smooth and creamy, and put that back into the freezer until it's firmed up a bit and turned into a dairy-free treat that's so good, it's just bananas.