Written by Hanna Barlow, Education and Curriculum Intern
Each Green Corner is always focusing on ways to reduce waste. While reducing consumption is the best way to minimize personal waste, finding new uses for items we already have is another wonderful way to reduce waste. Bananas are a key example of a common food that is multi-faceted and very useful, even beyond the kitchen. This article will include ways to reuse bananas and their peels in the kitchen and the garden.
In the Kitchen
Perhaps the most common use for bananas that are “too ripe” to eat on their own is baking a delicious banana bread. If you have two to three bananas that may be too brown for your taste, consider mashing them up and mixing them with simple ingredients you can find around the kitchen- eggs, butter, flour, etc. to turn those mushy bananas into a delicious loaf of banana bread for dessert or breakfast. If you have an extra sweet tooth and want to indulge in some chocolate, here is a delicious recipe for chocolate chip banana bread.
While preparing your banana bread, don’t throw away the peels quite yet! Before leaving the kitchen, consider using the peels to brew a banana peel tea that has been found to help with sleep. According to R.D. Eliza Savage, the potassium and magnesium in banana peels can help relax muscles while the tryptophan in banana peels can help with the production of serotonin- a chemical that aids in sleep regulation (Cushner, 2021). To make banana tea, simply put a banana peel in a pot, cover it with water, bring the water to a boil, and then let it steep for about ten minutes. For additional flavor, add cinnamon, nutmeg, and honey to taste (Laurence, 2020).
In the Garden
If you have houseplants, a composting bin, a home garden, or all of the above, banana peels may be your new best friend. In the compost bin, banana peels are a quick and beneficial addition because of the phosphorus and potassium they contain. Even if you don’t have a compost bin, banana peels can still make a nutritious fertilizer- just dry and grind the peels and add them to your soil. As for your houseplants, banana peels can help keep them clean and add shine, simply by rubbing the flesh side of the peel on the leaves (Caro, 2018).
There are plenty of other miscellaneous uses for bananas and their peels, from shoe polishing to face masks, but for now, that’s all from us. Keep checking back this month for more produce spotlights!
Caro, G. (2018, December 7). 12 uses for leftover banana peels. Gypsy Soul. https://www.gypsysoul.co.uk/12-uses-for-leftover-banana-peels/.
Cushner, K. (2021, April 3). Does tryptophan really make you sleepy, and why? Tuck Sleep. https://www.tuck.com/sleep/what-is-tryptophan-and-how-does-it-affect-sleep/.Laurence, E. (2020, January 24). Sorry chamomile, but banana peel tea is the brew you should sip before bed. Well+Good. https://www.wellandgood.com/banana-peel-tea/.