While bananas are a consistent grocery store purchase in many households, most of us are probably throwing away a very nutritious and useful part: its peel. These yellow skins are not only amazing as moisturizers and balms, they’re also mighty good to eat! (Yes, you read that right.)
Read on to discover why you should think twice before tossing those empty skins in the trash.
Cook with them
Banana peels contain magnesium, vitamins B6 and B12, potassium, tryptophan and fiber — too much good stuff to throw away. Take advantage of these nutrients by trying some of these delicious recipes.
1. Brew a tea
There are a couple of ways to make banana tea. Prevention’s recipe uses just the peel: Boil a washed, ripe banana skin for 10 minutes in enough water to cover it and strain before serving. Add milk or sweetener, as desired. Or you could make tea with a whole, washed banana. Chop off the ends, then cut up the banana and add it to a pot of boiling water. Boil for 10 minutes, strain and enjoy. Add milk or sweetener to taste.
2. Candy them
Yuka Yoneda, of Inhabit NYC, makes this tasty topping for yogurt or ice cream. Peel and chop a washed banana peel. Place peel in a pot with a half cup of sugar and a half cup of water. Cook on medium heat until caramelized. Spread on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. When cool, break in pieces and store in an airtight container. Yum!
3. Broil them
Cut a banana in half lengthwise, add a dusting of cinnamon and some grated dark chocolate. Broil until golden. Another option is to sprinkle the banana halves with brown sugar and some chopped pecans, then broil.
4. Pickle them
Use leftover pickle brine to make green banana peel pickles. Taste better than it sounds! Chop a washed green banana peel into 1-inch by 1/2-inch rectangles. Add to pickle juice and refrigerate for a day or two.
5. Turn them into vinegar
Livestrong ferments banana peels with yeast to create this unusual sweet/sour vinegar.
6. Make a smoothie
Next time you make a smoothie, cut off the stem and the tip of a washed banana, then blend the entire banana with other ingredients, such as almond or coconut milk, apple and mango. Sprinkle with cinnamon before serving.
7. Keep meat moist
Keep roasts moist by adding a ripe banana peel to the bottom of the roasting pan before cooking. To prevent a chicken breast from drying out in the oven, cover it with a banana peel while cooking. Genius!
8. Pair with peas
Pair banana peels with peas in this spicy recipe that uses green banana peels, black-eyed peas, turmeric, mustard seeds and coconut.
9. Curry them
This green banana curry uses green banana peels, coconut oil, onion, ginger, turmeric, coconut milk, coconut and spices. Cook until peels are tender, then serve over rice.
10. Juice them
Natural Living Ideas squeezes every bit of nutrition from banana peels. Boil washed peels in water for 10 minutes, then cool and strain the liquid. Use banana peel juice in recipes and smoothies for extra vitamins and minerals.
11. Create a chutney
Perfect with Indian-style foods, this chutney is loaded with spice and natural goodness. Make it with chopped, cooked banana peels, mustard seeds, cayenne, garlic, onion, jalapeno, turmeric and fenugreek seeds.
Health and beauty fixers
12. Fashion a facial
Try this banana facial from Cosmopolitan magazine. Rub the inside of the banana peel on your face until the peel residue on your face starts to turn brown and slimy. Let it sit for 30 minutes, then rinse thoroughly with warm water.
13. Remove a wart
Before going to bed, tape a piece of banana peel over the wart so that the inside of the peel touches the wart. Remove peel in the morning. Repeat each evening, using a fresh piece of peel. Wart should disappear within three weeks.
14. Whiten teeth
According to Southeast Family Dental in Indianapolis, the potassium, magnesium and manganese in ripe banana peels are what whitens teeth. Rub teeth for two minutes with the inside of the peel, then brush with your regular toothpaste.
15. Take away the itch
To soothe itchy mosquito or ant bites, cover the affected area with a piece of banana peel until itchiness subsides.
16. Fade a scar
Fade the appearance of a scar by rubbing it with the inside of a banana peel. Allow the area to dry, then remove residue with a warm damp cloth. Repeat daily as needed.
You've heard about cucumbers on eyes, but what about bananas? Allow a piece of banana peel to sit on the under-eye area for a few minutes then rinse. For an extra-refreshing treatment, freeze banana peels for 15 minutes before applying.
18. Remove splinters
To draw a splinter out, tape a piece of banana peel over the area where the splinter is lodged. Allow it to work for 30 minutes. According to Prevention, the enzymes in the peel will help the splinter move toward the surface.
19. Relieve bruising
The Indian Spot recommends rubbing the inside of a banana peel over a bruise, or taping it over the bruise overnight, to relieve bruising.
20. Treat acne
The antibacterial properties in bananas help heal acne faster, according to Cosmopolitan. Gently apply the inside of a banana peel to blemishes. Allow it to work for about 10 minutes before rinsing. Apply a few times a day for best results. In a week, you should notice a difference.
21. Attract butterflies
Butterflies love rotting fruit. Hang a ripe banana outside or place small pieces of ripe banana along the peel near the garden to attract these beauties.
22. Repel aphids
Unlike butterflies, aphids do not like banana peels. To keep these pests away from rose bushes, bury cut-up banana peels at the base of plants. The extra nutrients in the peels are also good for the roses.
23. Polish leather
Shoes need a quick shine? Rub them with the inside of a banana peel, then buff with a soft cloth.
24. Trap fruit flies
To rid the kitchen of annoying fruit flies, Prevention suggests luring them with a banana peel. Place the peel into an empty cottage cheese or yogurt container, punch holes in the top with a nail or sharp knife. Set it near the fruit bowl and watch as those pesky little flies enter the containers in search of the sweet banana peel. Toss the container (unopened, of course) when fruit flies are gone.
25. Polish silver
Out of silver polish? Blend banana skins with enough water to make a paste. Apply to tarnished silver with a soft brush. Rinse and pat dry. This works best on small pieces with light tarnish.
26. Compost them
Add nutrient-rich banana peels to your compost pile. They decompose quickly and add moisture and vitamins, too.
27. Shine houseplants
The leaves of green houseplants will be clean and shiny once you rub them with the inside of a banana peel.
28. Fix scratched CDs and DVDs
When your CD or DVD gets the hiccups, fix the scratches by rubbing the back of the disc with the inside of a banana peel. Move across the disc, rubbing gently in a circular motion. Remove excess peel with a soft cloth, spritz with glass cleaner then buff disc to a shine.
If you have a food dehydrator, dry peels before grinding them into a powder. Work this into garden soil to give plants a boost.
30. Liquid fertilizer
Natural Living Ideas suggests steeping several banana peels in a bucket of water for two to three days to create a compost “tea.” Mix one part tea to five parts water and use as a monthly fertilizer. Plants will thrive on the extra nutrients from the bananas.
31. Feed the worms
If you’ve got a worm farm, add chopped banana peels to the soil or pour blended banana peels into the soil for a “worm-favorite” meal.