Q: How do you ripen bananas quickly? Christine Acevedo, Midland, TX
A: Bananas ripen on their own at room temperature, but if you're in a hurry for ripe bananas, there are 2 stages of speed-ripening you can try. Both involve a paper bag, which creates an incubator effect around the fruit, trapping the gases it lets off as it ripens and thus speeding up the process.
In order to take advantage of the ethylene, either place the bananas by themselves in a paper bag -- but to ripen them extra-fast, add an apple or two to the bag; apples give off lots of ethylene, making them the best tool for quick-ripening.
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