I have never met a single person in my life who doesn’t love bananas. I mean, how could you? They’re the perfect morning pick-me-up, a delight in any dessert and, on top of it all, one of the most affordable fruits you can find in the store.
If you’re anything like me, bananas are at the top of your weekly grocery list, buying bunches of three to seven bananas per week. The problem? No matter how good of a steal that banana bunch is, it always feels like such a waste to throw out—or, ideally, compost—those peels after you’ve enjoyed that banana bite.
As a major banana-enthusiast, that frustration quickly changed when I first discovered recipes for vegan ‘pulled pork’ made with banana peels and banana peel carnitas. Turns out, there’s a lot you can do with banana peels—and they’re rich in potassium and fiber too!
Read on to explore eight different zero-waste alternatives to upcycle those banana peel scraps with DIY hacks, mouthwatering recipes, and more!
Please Note: While these banana peel hacks are a wonderful way to upcycle banana peels into your diet, cleaning routine, and self-care habits, debates exist regarding pesticide residue within the banana peels themselves and their safety for consumption. For those concerned with pesticide residue within the peel, consider swapping to organic pesticide-free bananas when testing out these zero-waste alternatives below.
1. Make A Banana Peel Cake
For the zero-waste chef, Food Network offers an easy and delicious Banana Peel Cake, topped with a brown sugar frosting. Creating a deeper, richer flavor, you’ll never go back to regular old banana cake again.
2. Polish Your Silver
Looking to spruce up your silverware or jewelry naturally? Rather than buying silver polish, consider using a banana peel instead! According to ApartmentTherapy.com, you can make this easy DIY silver polish cleaner by blending water and banana peels into a paste and scrubbing it on the silver with a cloth or toothbrush. Rinse the paste off in water, pat dry, and enjoy freshly polished silver pieces!
3. Boil A Pot of Banana Peel Tea
Trouble sleeping? Banana peel tea can help. Packed with potassium, magnesium, and an amino acid L-tryptophan, banana peels contain natural muscle relaxant and convert into both serotonin and melatonin to stimulate relaxation and sleep. Slice a banana peel up and boil, or dehydrate in a dehydrator or oven instead. Check out Mommypotamus.com’s banana peel tea recipe to figure out what cooking method is right for you.
4. Remove Pesky Splinters, Ticks, or Shards of Glass
It’s the worst feeling, really—that moment when you touch a non-sanded piece of wood and find yourself with a splinter, or break a vase and stick yourself with a shard of glass. If you’ve ever found yourself with something lodged under your skin and in need of removal (whether splinters, ticks, or glass), banana peels can help. Place a piece of a ripened banana peel (applying pulp side against the skin) and tape to the affected area for several hours. According to NaturalNutmeg.com, this trick will either leave the lodged item right at the top of your skin for easy removal, or may even remove the item altogether due to the enzymes in the peel.
5. Bake Banana Bacon
Craving a vegan taste-a-like to traditional pork bacon? Save your banana peel scraps and transform them into crispy, chewy banana bacon bites perfect for a BLT or sprinkled over a fresh salad. For those ready to bring baycun back, food blogger, Sam Turnbull, offers an easy recipe to elevate your cooking game which you can find here.
6. Up Your Cocktail/Mocktail Game With Some Banana Peel Syrup
Amaze friends and family with your cocktail creations, using some nifty banana peel syrup for a deep, rich flavor and sweetness. According to The Sustainable Bartender’s recipe and tips, Banana Peel syrup is the perfect addition to everything from Whiskey Sours to a ginger beer and lime juice mocktail. Create overnight for best results.
7. Spice Up Your Meal With Some Banana Peel Chutney
This banana peel chutney by Archana’s Kitchen not only looks amazing to eat, but also incredibly easy to make. Better known as Kanchakalar Kohsha Bata, this banana peel chutney is a traditional Bengali dish best served with hot steamed rice and ghee. Check your local grocery store for nigella seeds, or order at SpicesInc.com here.
8. Treat Yourself To A Banana Peel Face Mask
In need of a spa day? Look no further than the peels in your kitchen for radiant skin. According to Healthline.com, Banana peels have been linked with reducing puffiness, wrinkles, and healing acne scars. Check out Miss. Kyra’s DIY Banana Peel Face Mask to try it out for yourself.
Know of other alternative ways to save your banana peel scraps? Let us know in the comments below!
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Photo: Luis Quintero via Pexels