From Shoe Shining to Skin Smoothing: 7 Uses for Overripe Bananas

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There they sit in the fruit bowl, doing the slow dance from green to golden to...way past perfect. Overripe bananas. It happens to the best of them.

Although bananas are cheap and plentiful, don't let all the resources and food miles they require go to waste. Bananas aren't a fait accompli once they've passed their prime. Here are seven jobs for aged bananas that are otherwise unemployable.

1. Banana Sugar Scrub

Banana's nutrient-rich flesh is a great skin moisturizer and works perfectly as the base of a sugar scrub; and your skin won't know the difference if the banana has seen better days. Lightly mash one banana with three tablespoons of granulated sugar, a teaspoon of olive oil, and a few drops of vanilla extract or the essential oil of your choice (optional). Get in the shower and before turning on the water, massage the mix all over. Rinse. Feel sweet and smooth.For a quick facial, reserve some of the plain banana (without sugar) and massage on your face, avoiding the eye area. Rinse.

2. Smoothie Ice

Nothing makes for a diluted-tasting, watery smoothie like ice as it melts. Nothing makes for a rich and creamy smoothie like frozen banana. So, trade ice cubes for frozen banana chunks; overripe bananas, once frozen, seem good as new when blended into oblivion. Peel bananas, slice, freeze. Use in place of ice. Done.

3. Butterfly Bait

Come to the rescue of hungry butterflies! You can use three overripe bananas in a formula that can help feed butterflies. See Make Food for Struggling Monarch Butterflies

4. Shoe Polish

An old trick of the Marines, ditch the toxic shoe polish and employ a banana peel to buff your leather shoes into shiny perfection. It really works. Peel the banana (and use the guts in any of the other uses listed here), rub the inside of the peel on shoes, then buff with a soft cloth.

5. Rose Bloom Happy-Maker

If the bloom on your rosebush has faded, try this--many a rose whisperer swear by it. Puree one overripe banana with a one-half cup of water in the blender. Lightly dig up the soil around the rose, pour the mix in, and blend into the soil. Next up: Stellar blooms!

6. Houseplant Booster

Enrich your houseplant water with this banana-based booster. Put a banana peel in a large jar and cover with water. Use this “juice” in your regular watering can: one part banana juice to five parts water. Water plants. You can keep adding water to the banana jar, too, to keep a fresh supply of the super-water coming.

7. Banana Bread Pudding

Take the predictable making-of-banana-bread route a step further by making banana bread pudding. It’s so good.

  • 2 cups organic milk
  • 6 mashed bananas
  • 1 cup sugar (or your preferred natural sweetener)
  • 2 large organic eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 10 cups day-old bread cubes

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. Whisk milk, banana, sweetener, eggs, spices and bourbon or vanilla in large bowl to blend. Fold in bread cubes.

3. Let stand 15 minutes, then put pudding mixture in a 9 x 12 pan. (You can use a 9-inch springform pan for a more-elegant result).

4. Bake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 40 minutes.

5. Serve plain or with fresh fruit, or garnish with some decadent dairy like mascarpone or whipped cream, or with chocolate sauce. It's a perfect banana-y base to get creative with.

You can also make a superbly delectable vegan french toast: Banana and Coconut French Toast.

Tags: Bananas | Beauty Treatments | Cooking | Food Miles | Vegetarian | Waste

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