Frugal Kitchen Tips: Ways to use Ripe Bananas (and Banana Peels!)
Waste not, want not, as my grandmother used to say. She would reach to the ground to pick up a penny! While I am not quite that frugal, I do like to save money. And nothing makes me more upset than throwing away food. Bananas used to be a real problem for me, but not now that I have figured out these easy ways to use up ripe bananas.
Grab a cup of coffee, sit back and find out what to do with those ripe bananas and banana peels. Some may surprise you! And if you are in a hurry to start cooking, you can click here to skip to the recipes!
1. Banana Bread. This one goes without saying and is the main thing that most cooks do with ripe bananas. The super rich taste of the bananas makes a very moist banana bread and their softness makes them easy to incorporate into the recipes.2. Low Fat and calorie Ice Cream. Well, not exactly ice cream, since there is no cream in it but mashed bananas makes a wonderful, healthy and lower calorie treat. The trick is freezing the pieces first. Just cut up ripe bananas into even sized chunks and freeze them in an airtight container for a few hours. (overnight is best) Then blend the chunks of frozen bananas into a delicious, and creamy “looking” dessert. They will be crumbly at first but just keep blending and you will end up with an ice cream like consistency.
3. Make Pancakes. You can actually make pancakes just with bananas, eggs, and baking powder, which are great for those who follow a gluten free diet, but the type I mean is just to use a basic pancake batter and just when the bubbles form and it’s time to flip, add a few slices of the ripe banana. Let them sink in a bit and then flip and cook on the other side and add some maple syrup. Easy to do and so good. (see my tips for perfect pancakes here.)4. Whip up a smoothie. There are loads of recipes for banana smoothies but most have one thing in common: ripe bananas! Just combine milk, some vanilla, a ripe banana and perhaps some Greek yoghurt for thickening and blend with ice. (add the ice last for the best result.) Breakfast on the run!
4. Moisturizer. Sounds odd, but it does seem to work. Bananas are rich with amino acids and antioxidants that can add nutrients to your skin and hair. Mash up a ripe banana and put it on your dry skin. Leave for 15-20 and then wash off and rinse with cold water to lock in the moisturizer. Your dry skin will instantly feel better.
5. To attract wildlife. If the bananas are too far gone to use in recipes, or if you just want more wild life in your yard use bananas. Bees, butterflies and birds like the taste of bananas just like we do. Leave some bananas or banana skins out to attract them. You may not want a Binturong in your yard, but you will love the birds and butterflies!
6. As a shoe polish. No need to spend money on pricey shoe polishes to get a nice shine Rub a banana peel over the surface of your shoes and then buff them up a with a cloth.
7. Dog Treats. Freeze some chunks of banana and feed them to Fido. They love the taste and if they are anything like my dog, love the crunch of the frozen treat too. (mine chases any ice cubes she hears fall to the floor. I never have to pick them up!)
8. As a plant mulch or fertilizer. Grind up dried banana peels and use it as mulch around new seedlings, or bury pieces of banana in the soil right next to plants for some extra nutrients.
9. Facial Scrubs. Try this tip. Take a ripe mashed banana and add 1 tbsp. of sugar and mix them together well. Apply the mixture to your skin and rub it in a circular motion. The banana will moisturize the dry skin and the sugar granules will help to get rid of the dead and dried skin.
10. Hair Conditioner. Why pay retail prices for expensive conditioner? Make your own by mixing a ripe banana with avocado and then adding some coconut milk to the mixture until it is the consistency you like. Apply it on your hair and leave it for 15-20 minutes. This conditions damaged hair and makes it very soft.
11. Make “Bananasicles”. Peel a ripe banana and push a bamboo skewer into the middle of it. Place it on wax paper and freeze for a couple of hours. If you want, you can roll it in melted chocolate and roll in crushed nuts. Yummo!
12. For Dry Feet and Heels. I walk around barefoot all the time, so I always have dried and cracked heels. This is a great way to treat them: Mash the pulp of two ripe bananas and apply this pulp on clean, dry feet. The banana pulp will penetrate deeply into the dry, cracked skin to make your feet softer and more supple.
13. Dried Banana Chips. If you have a food dehydrator, you can make dried banana chips at home. ((affiliate link) And the riper the banana is, the sweeter the chips will be! (you can also bake them at 250º for 1 1/2 hours and get a similar result.)
14. Baked Bananas. Bananas bake beautifully. Lay sliced bananas on al foil and add some chocolate on top. Wrap the foil and bake for about 15 minutes on hot coals in a Barbeque. Great camping food. (even better with a scoop of ice cream)
15. French Toast. Spread mashed bananas over the bread and then dip in the egg mixture like normal French Toast. It adds some extra sweetness and richness to the dish.
16. For dusty houseplants. If you have houseplants with dusty and dingy leaves, use the inside of a banana peel to wipe down the leaves. It removes the gunk and leaves a brilliant shine on the plant.
17. Milkshakes. Blend peanut butter, chocolate chips and ripe bananas for a delicious “milkshake.”
18. As an oil substitute. Mash very ripe bananas and substitute for equal amounts of oil in baked goods. (similar to using applesauce) Just be sure the mixture is very smooth. (see my other cooking substitutes here.)
19. To help with Itching. Rub the inside of the skins of bananas on rashes, poison ivy or bug bites for instant itch relief.
20. For Compost. If none of these uses appeal to you, put them on the compost pile. Banana peels break down easily. Add them to a compost for the green part of the brown green mixture needed for compost.
Looking for recipes to use up some of your ripe bananas? How about these:
1. White Chocolate Mango Banana Bread from Sally’s Baking Addiction.
2. Banana Nut Muffins with Streusel Topping from the Gardening Cook.
3. Banana Nut Breakfast Bars from Recipes Just 4U.
4. Savory Banana Chocolate Cupcakes from The Gardening Cook.
5. Peanut butter Banana smoothie from Stock Piling Moms.
6. Banana Blondies from Cookies and Cups.
7. Banana Doughnut Holes from Sweet C’s Design.
8. Banana Pecan Cake from The Gardening Cook
9. Banana Cookies from Pots, Pans and Parkers.
10. Crock Pot Banana French Toast from Diethood.
11. Chocolate Chip Banana Bread from Recipes Just4u.
12. Banana pumpkin Breakfast shake from Dine and Dish.
13. Banana Buttermilk Pancakes from Family Feedbag.
14. Coconut Banana Bread from Fat Girl Trapped in a Skinny Body.
15. Banana Caramel Cream Dessert from Glorious Treats.
16. Banana Fosters Cocktail from Recipes.com.
17. Apple Banana Bread from The Keenan Cookbook.
18. Banana Chocolate Walnut Cake from Amandaleine.
19. Banana Cream Pudding Cakes from Em’s Bites.
20. Cinnamon Sugar Banana Lumpia from Imperial Sugar.
21. Banana Cream Squares from Lui in Cucina.
22. Gluten Free Banana Rice Pudding from Eating Well.
23. Fried Honey Banana from The Crohn’s Journey Foundation.
24. Skinny Banana Oatmeal Smoothie from Natural Chow.
25. Frozen Banana Ice Cream from Mess for Less.
26. Cinnamon Swirl Banana Bread from Lovin’ from The Oven.
27. Crock pot Banana Bread from Recipe 4 Living.
28. Chocolate Banana Cashew Smoothie from Fit Sugar.
29. Strawberry Banana Milkshake from Sally’s Baking Addiction.
30. Strawberry and Banana Ice Pop from Flour on my Face.
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a small commission, but the price will be the same for you. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."