Scotland’s fruit sales have surged recently as we rekindled our love for bananas. Sadly, this spike has more to do with making banana bread while stuck at home rather than riding banana boats on a beautiful beach somewhere *sigh*.
We are buying bunches of the berry (yes, it is technically a berry) but a third of us admit to chucking away bananas if they have even slight bruising. This means that in the UK 1.4 million perfectly good bananas are finding their way into landfills each and every day, wasting an eye-watering £80m a year.
Preventing this waste by making sure we eat our bananas can help prevent climate change and form part of a healthy balanced diet. If eating them plain isn’t your thing then you can find recipes for tasty treats at Love Food Hate Waste - Scotland. There are even handy storage tips to help ensure your bananas stay fresher for longer.
What about the peels, surely they are an unavoidable waste?
For this article, we decided to take the road less travelled and explore some of the more unconventional options for making the most of your humble banana peel.
Bringing home the bacon
Most people aren’t aware of this, but the peels are in fact fully edible and are a great source of extra vitamins. Given their sweet and rich taste the skins lend themselves to some rather interesting recipes including one that recently went viral on Tik Tok – Banana peel bacon.
Yes, you read that right, banana peel bacon is a thing and a tasty vegan alternative for your next breakfast butty.
Simple remove and scrape the peel from a ripe banana, marinade with some soy sauce, maple syrup, smoked paprika, and garlic powder and then heat for a few minutes on either side in an air-fryer or frying pan over a medium heat. Voilà, you have a crispy and chewy treat that doesn’t look out of place on a full English fry-up, tofu scramble or BLT (banana/lettuce/tomato).
Banana peels are in fact fully edible and are a great source of extra vitamins. Given their sweet and rich taste the skins lend themselves to some rather interesting recipes including banana peel bacon or burgers. #HowToWasteLess
A good drink needn’t cost the earth
For the cocktail lovers who are left shaken and stirred by the threat of climate change, adding your banana peels to a shaker is a great way to give your drinks an eco-friendly twist and let you enjoy a sip the sustainable way at your next house party or BBQ.
Commercial banana liqueur is usually overpowering and not the most ap-peel-ing taste but by using actual banana peels you can extract a syrup with a more subtle banana flavour and toffee note.
It’s easy to make a banana peel syrup, just mix equal weights of diced banana peels and sugar then leave to sit in a jar overnight. The sugar will extract water from the peels giving you a syrup, just blitz it and sieve and you have the perfect beginnings of a carbon-bursting cocktail.
Alternatively, you can have your banana cake and eat it too with a dessert drink by combining the syrup with Baileys Irish cream and ice cream to create a Gorillas in the Mist cocktail. For the designated drivers out there we also have a banana and peanut butter mocktail smoothie to let you join in the fun.
The world is your canvas
No pen and paper? No problem just take a leaf out of Londoner Anna Chojnicka’s book and get sketching on some skins. During lockdown Anna discovered that by marking or piercing parts of peels they would turn brown (gold, orange and black) faster letting her create intricate works of art without any ink whatsoever… oh and she would eat the banana afterward of course!
If you would like to save the paper and try your hand at some agriculture art then the banana_bruiser Instagram account has inspirational ideas and a handy video showing you how to make your own. Who knows your artwork might even fetch as much as the Maurizio Cattelan’s “comedian” aka the ‘banana duct-taped to a wall’, which sold for a staggering $120k in 2019. The world really has gone bananas for bananas.