Power Of Plants: 7 Unexpected Ways To Use Leftover Bananas
Been wondering what to do with that ever ripening bunch of bananas in your fruit bowl? In the spirit of reducing food waste (and having some fun at the same time), we’ve explored some creative options when it comes to using up overripe bananas.
In the kitchen
Intro: Let’s start our journey into alternative ways to use leftover bananas with a few food-focused options.
1. Val’s vegan banana bread
It’s safe to say that you don’t have to be a culinary wizard to know that a great use for overripe bananas is making banana bread. I might be a little biased, but my favourite, go-to recipe is Val’s plant-based banana bread, filled with chocolate and walnut chunks and covered in cinnamon sugar. I’m often messing around with sugar ratios when it comes to baking, but this one is already spot on – so hopefully, I’m not setting the bar too high for myself.
I’m aiming for the ultimate soft, fluffy and (here comes that dreaded word) moist cake, loaded with chocolate and nutty crunch. A cake so good that I’ll tell people I’m going to let my bananas over-ripen just so I can make this recipe.
Remember to hold on to your banana skins, we’re not quite done with them yet.
2. Max La Manna’s banana peel ‘pulled pork’ sandwich
Photo credits: Source
In the spirit of zero-waste, and the sheer embodiment of our friend, Max La Manna, we’re going to give his banana peel ‘pulled pork’ recipe a go.
Yep, you read that right – banana peel pulled pork. Trust us when we say that his recipe makes for a tangy, succulent and hearty sandwich that will rival any pulled jackfruit you might have tried. If you want to see him in action, here’s his Instagram recipe.
Unfortunately, bananas don’t always ripen in perfect unison with your cravings for banana bread or peel ‘pulled pork’. Max recommends storing bruised and brown-spotted bananas in an airtight container or bag in your freezer for up to two months. Something I’ll be trying just as soon as I’ve made it through my current batch of allplants and there’s space in my freezer again.
Here are a few of our favourite ideas for incorporating bananas into self-care activities.
3. Banana-rama organic vegan face mask
In the spirit of minimalism, I’m trying out Miss Organic’s simple recipe for a Banana-rama face mask. The recipe is designed to fight breakouts, which is ideal for winter and covid face mask-induced spots.
The instructions say to mash one banana then add a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda and half a teaspoon of ground turmeric. The banana will help balance and soothe your skin, whilst the bicarb will draw out dirt and oils, with the turmeric doing what it does best – acting as a natural antiseptic and reducing inflammation
Apply the mixture to damp, clean skin (avoiding your eyes) and leave on for 10-15 minutes before rinsing it off with cool water and follow up with a drop or two of your favourite facial oil.
After the mask, my face feels clean and tight, if a little dry, but some face oil sorted that out.
4. VEGLAMOUR’s rejuvenating DIY banana hair mask
Photo credits: Source
Maybe you saw the face mask coming, but how about a rejuvenating hair mask? Well, it was a surprise to me at least. I’ll readily admit that my hair-care routine is little more than shampoo-rinse-conditioner-comb-rinse-air dry. I’m not sure whether a hair mask is necessarily missing from my life, but in the spirit of science I’m giving it a go. (N.B. I’m not sure if I can call the series ‘science’ yet).
Shop bought masks might seem like an easy fix, but they’re generally packed with ingredients that you wouldn’t knowingly put anywhere near your precious locks – sulphates, parabens and worse!
It makes sense then to control what you’re putting near your precious scalp. This recipe from VEGLAMOUR is simple, hydrating and sensitive. The blend of avocado, banana and lemon juice makes it gentle to both your scalp and hair. Add it to your unwashed hair in sections and once you’re happy with the coverage, leave it in half an hour before rinsing thoroughly and air-drying.
Around the house
Finally here are some of the ways we love to make the most of our overripe bananas at home.
5. Teeth whitening
Sticking with self-care, I thought it was time to see what our good friend, the banana, could offer when it comes to oral hygiene. A friend suggested cleaning my teeth with the skin, so with poorly-disguised scepticism I searched Google, and it turns out that that it’s a relatively big practice.
There are some nay-sayers out there who’ve tried this and not seen improvements, but equally, some people seem to swear by it: so there’s nothing left but to try it myself. The theory says to simply rub the inside of a banana skin on my teeth for two minutes and then admire stain-free and whiter teeth.
Maybe one go at this isn’t enough to show any sign of effect as my teeth seem virtually unchanged in appearance – however, my mouth does feel notably drier.
6. Houseplant fertiliser
I wasn’t the most intrigued and excited by this concept. As an avid houseplant collector, I’m often looking for new ways to care for them and then tell my housemates about at length – this might just have me covered for a while.
The internet seems to agree that the best practice would be to let a banana peel sit in a jug of tap water for a few days. As a result, I’ll have a cool, nutrient-rich banana-tea my plants will love me for. I’m picturing waking up to a house that resembles one of the tropical biomes at the Eden Project (*crosses fingers*).
The theory says the banana peel will add potassium as well as small amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus and magnesium to the plants’ soil much like a slow-release fertiliser – which all sounds good to me.
Again, this one might be a slow burner. I’m happy to keep trying this out over the next few months and keep an eye on any developments, but there have been no developments so far.
7. Polishing silver
Photo credits: Source
As someone in their twenties who rents in London, I don’t have any silverware in my shared kitchen; but I have scrambled together a few bits of poorly-looked-after jewellery to give this a go with.
Apartment Therapy says to blend up banana skins with just enough water to make a paste, then using a toothbrush, work the paste around the piece of silver. Then simply dip the silver into a cool water bath and work off any remaining paste before patting it dry with a clean cloth.
After a sticky twenty minutes making a mess with some banana skin paste, a tooth brush and a few rings, I have been left with brighter silver. However, I’m unsure if it’s a chore I’ll repeat again anytime soon.
Banana fact bank
Just in case you were after some facts to share on your next Zoom call.
- Banana trees walk up to 40 centimetres during their lifetime. This, unfortunately, isn’t a naturally occurring phenomenon, so much as it is to do with their cultivation.
- A banana is a berry (note its seeds!)
- Banana trees might be native to SouthEast Asia but are now grown all across the globe wherever it’s warm enough.
- Each fruit is packed full of antioxidants, fibre and important vitamins and minerals, most famously potassium.
By Fabian Jackson
Fabian is one of our lovely Content Marketing Assistants who loves writing almost as much as he loves coffee, old episodes of Escape to the Country (no judgement here), and cooking up a storm in his kitchen.
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