New Uses For Old Bananas

Monday, January 10, 2011

My kids love bananas. They eat them for breakfast, for snacks, at lunch, even before they go to bed. And whenever we are running all over town, I know that a few bananas will tide them over until we get home. So naturally I buy them by the bushel. However, I do believe that my stockpiling has backfired on me. I am so afraid of running out that I overcompensate. The result? I usually have several browning bananas on my countertop at any given time. And, you know my kids aren't going to be unpeeling ol' spotty when there is a fresh batch sitting right beside him. So what to do with my mature bananas? One can only make so many loaves of banana bread (especially when she is watching here figure...). Instead, here are several alternative uses for our yellow friends.

  1. Fertilize your garden. Plants and soil love bananas, both the peel and the fruit. Just mash them into your soil with a trowel around the base of your plant(s). You will be rewarded with healthier, more vibrant vegetation without the mess or expense of store bought fertilizers.
  2. Trap fruit flies. Open a ripened banana and place it inside a clean, empty yogurt container. Seal the container with its lid and poke small holes into the lid. The flies will be attracted to the banana and enter the container, but they won't be able to find their way out through the tiny holes.
  3. Beautify. Create a soothing and effective mask for your hair and/or face using mashed banana as the star ingredient. For hair: simply massage mashed banana into your hair and let it sit for 15 mins. Then rinse and shine. For face: combine one mashed banana with 1/4 cup plain yogurt and 1 teaspoon honey. Spread the mixture over your face and let it sit for 15 mins. Rinse well. Both of these masks moisturize and provide anti-aging benefits.
  4. Stock up for smoothies. Frozen bananas make a great addition to any smoothie. Just peel and slice bananas into chunks and store them in tupperware or a freezer bag in your freezer. Then the next time you are in the mood for a yum-yum smoothie toss a few banana chunks into the blender to make it creamier and frostier. My favorite concoction is chocolate peanut butter banana. Blend 8 oz milk, 1 whole frozen banana 2 tablespoons of chocolate drink powder (like Nesquik) and a heaping spoonful of pb and, ta-da!
  5. Bake healthier. Mashed bananas can replace the fats (ie: oil, butter, lard) in a lot of your baking recipes. Swap it in equal parts for your cakes, breads and muffins. You can also use it to replace up to half the fat in your cookie recipes. So if your favorite oatmeal raisins call for 1 cup butter, use 1/2 cup butter and 1/2 cup mashed bananas.


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