Every time you peel a banana and throw away the peel, you’re throwing away a tasty, nutritious snack.
A recent study has shown that IWhen banana peels are blanched, dried and ground into flour, they can be made into pastries that taste just as good, if not better, than wheat-based products.
Unless you’re a devoted reader of vegan cooking blogs or a fan of Nigella Lawson, you’ve probably never considered cooking with banana peel. But not only is it completely safe, scientists have also shown that it is really good for you.
When the products from their experiments were taste-tested, consumers reported that they were just as happy with the flavors as they were with the peel-free sugar cookies.
You even get a generous helping of minerals and cancer-fighting nutrients. Fortified with banana peels, for example, the sugar cookies made in the study contained much more fiber, magnesium, potassium and antioxidants.
On the other hand, adding too much banana peel flour resulted in cookies that were slightly brown and hard, possibly from all the extra fiber. But when batches were made with flour with 7.5 percent banana peel, the texture of the cookies reached a much more appealing balance.
As a bonus, the goods also held up well on the scale for three months at room temperature.
While the study only looked at the effects of adding banana peels to baked cookies, the results suggest that using banana peel flour in bread, cakes and pasta is also worth considering.
For example, last year, a study on banana peel cake found that the fruit’s yellow skin imparts a natural food color to the baked product, as well as a nutritional boost.
A 2016 study found that replacing up to 10 percent wheat flour with banana peel flour can enrich baked bread with higher protein, carbohydrate and fat content.
Not in the mood for baking? Nigella Lawson has used banana peels in curries, and vegan bloggers have recently popularized the idea of banana peel bacon and pulled peel “pork.”
Eating the skin of this fruit is not only a healthy option, it can also help reduce food waste. About 40 percent of a banana’s weight is in the peel, and most of the time, this nutrient-rich peel is simply thrown away.
Of course, banana peels are pretty useless when raw. But when prepared properly, they can taste really damn good. They may even be able to extend the shelf life of some products, as the peels have antioxidant and antimicrobial properties.
The same goes for other fruit peels, such as mango peel, which have also been found to boost a cake’s antioxidant properties and improve its flavor.
So the next time you remove a banana for the fruit in it, consider keeping the peel. Your stomach may thank you later.
The study is published in ACS Food Science & Technology.