I figure I spend about $83 dollars a year just for the privilege of having bananas go bad in my home. It seems no matter what condition they are when I buy them at the store by the time they hit my counter they are mushy brown and not much use to anyone. Even the bugs in the kitchen shy away from them.

So, I was wondering if there was a way to manipulate the process of making bananas ripe so they would be at peak tastiness when I wanted them to be. It turns out there is.

The first thing you need to know about your banana is they are always getting more ripe. That is why they are picked green. If you don't need bananas right away the greener you can buy them the better off you'll be. According to the folks at Epicurious.com, a great foodie website, you can actually speed up the process of getting your bananas to ripen.

If you need a banana now for a banana nut bread or a banana cream pie, put the banana in the oven. The warm conditions speed up the process greatly. Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes and you have a very mushy and very ripe banana.

If you want your banana to be a little more firm, you can wait about three days, then put them on top of your refrigerator.  The warmth from the 'fridge will speed the process along but not too fast.

If you have a couple of more days that you can wait to enjoy your banana then just plop them on the counter top or under your bed. Be sure to remove them from the bag though. Also, make sure you remember you have bananas under your bed because if you forget it might be a very unpleasant cleanup afterwards.

If you want your green bananas to take about a week or slightly less, just keep them in the bag you purchased them in and leave them on the counter. The best guess on this method is about 6 days.

Epicurious.com also suggests that you understand how you're going to use your bananas before you decide which method to ripen. Some recipes call for firmer slices, while others just require a banana mush. If you'd like some great recipes the Epicurious website has plenty of those to peruse.