Before Baking With Banana Peels, Don't Forget One Crucial Step

Reducing food waste has become an important topic, and it's opened up discussions about some pretty unexpected foods, or parts of foods. A prime example of that is banana peels, which, by many Western standards, have long been considered inedible and discarded without a second thought. However, these slippery skins have been consumed by indigenous cultures for centuries. From the Brazilian carne louca de banana, to the Keralan banana peel curry, there are many uses for banana peels in everyday cooking — but baking is where they can really shine. Just make sure you don't forget one crucial step: Wash the banana peels first.

Before you can make banana peel cookies, banana peel bread, muffins, or pancakes, the first thing you need to do is peel and wash your banana peels. Being a natural barrier to the fruit inside of them, the peels can be contaminated with dirt, microorganisms such as bacteria, and even fertilizers that could make you sick. The best way to clean them is by running them under cool, running water. This will remove any of the possible microorganisms you can't see, as well as the dirt and debris that you likely can. Then, you can move forward with your baking as normal — peels included. This way, you get all of the benefits without wasting a thing.

Benefits of baking with banana peels

Baking with banana peels comes with benefits, and not just for the planet. Yes, you'll be doing a service by reducing your food waste and, therefore, cutting down the amount of methane that gets released into the atmosphere, but you'll also be getting some benefits for you. For one, banana peels contain polyphenols, carotenoids, and other antioxidants. They also contain vitamin A, which contributes to eye health, and a good dose of fiber, which aids digestive health. Naturally, they lend these benefits to anything you bake them in, so why not add banana peels to your next cake?

Banana peels are also another way to lend more moisture to baked goods, particularly if you tenderize them first by simmering and pureeing them. Otherwise, they can bring your baked goods an added springy texture. Aside from that, banana peels won't drastically alter the flavor or visual appeal of your cakes and quick breads. That is, unless you want them to. The riper the banana, the tastier the peel — so stick with less ripe bananas if you're only looking for the textural enhancement, and riper fruit if you want a boost of flavor. If you're looking for a very easy way to eat them, simply pop them into your next smoothie mix. No matter which way you peel it, however, you're still going to avoid throwing a couple more peels in the garbage than you would otherwise, and that's a win.