5 wonderful ways to avoid banana waste

Some of these are so good, you might want to buy bananas especially!!

All bananas are created equal (photo by Chuttersnap on Unsplash)

According to this article in the Guardian, we Brits throw away 1.4m bananas per day. PER DAY! That’s crazy! I couldn’t believe it. They are such a versatile fruit, and there are so many ways to use up ripe bananas, there is no excuse … If you don’t have the time or energy to do any of the below, just pop the bananas themselves, whatever state they are in, into the freezer. You can defrost them to make banana bread or use them in any other recipe that calls for mashed banana. The blacker they are, the sweeter they are — and the sugar is natural and healthy.

Besides just freezing them, I have compiled my five favourite ways to make sure I use up all my bananas and never again have to throw one away. I hope you give some of these a try — and if you have other recipes, please do pop them in a comment, I’m always happy to try something new!

  1. Make banana bread
Vegan Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

This is a classic way to use up ripe bananas. There are endless recipes online, healthy ones and less healthy ones, vegan (like our Bakit Banana Bread), sugar free, chocolate flavoured etc! My advice is to take a classic recipe, and experiment. My friend Emily told me the other day she has been gradually reducing the sugar quantity in her banana bread to see how much she can leave out, as she wants to make something relatively healthy for her little boy…

My go-to recipe for this is Delia’s, although with a few tweaks: I replace the lard with extra butter, and tend to leave out the lemon and the nuts, in favour of chocolate chips. :) All you need is to mash the bananas, and mix in the rest of the ingredients.

Other ideas worth trying:

  • adding coconut and chocolate chips (I’d leave out fruit zest in this case)
  • blueberries, or raspberries
  • and my favourite: cinnamon crunch (from @lisamatzi)- mix butter (vegan, if you like!) with brown sugar and cinnamon until it forms a crumb like consistency. Pour half the batter into your tin and put a layer of the cinnamon butter in the middle. Pour in the rest of the batter, and put the rest of the cinnamon on top. I love the sound of this!

Let me know how you get on, and if you have any other variations!

2. Banana ice cream

Simple banana ice cream

This is a lovely treat on a warm afternoon, and tastes just like real ice cream! One ingredient is all you need…

Simply peel and slice a ripe banana (best if just ripe, not blackened!), and pop in a freezer bag or other air tight container. Freeze for at least a couple of hours — then put in a small food processor or blender. When you start blending it, it will look like crushed ice until it turns creamy! Scoop out and serve immediately.

It is important to use a small food processor, rather than a normal sized one, as the banana will get lost under the blades otherwise. If your blender can crush ice, it will be fine for the banana. Otherwise just do several bananas at once, and a larger food processor will be fine.

You can liven this up by adding lots of flavourings, such as peanut butter, nutella, honey, or some chocolate chips.

Simple, healthy — and delicious!

3. Handy smoothie packs

Strawberry and banana smoothie (photo by Tara Evans on Unsplash)

If you are a smoothie fan, this is a great tip! I often prepare my smoothie packs in advance and freeze them, it saves so much time, especially if you are trying to rush out the door in the morning.

Simply peel and slice a banana, and add it to a freezer proof bag or tupperware. Add fruit and flavouring of your choice — my favourite is a combination of strawberries and blueberries. I’ll then add a slice of peeled ginger and a teaspoon of chia seeds. Close up the bag, and when you next want a smoothie, just pop it all in your blender, add apple juice (or milk) — and whizz up into your nutritious and delicious brekkie!

Some of my favourite banana combos are below:

  • banana, mango, coconut yoghurt and coconut water
  • banana, pineapple, ginger and apple juice
  • banana, any red fruit, handful of spinach and oats, blended with either apple juice or milk

4. Banoffee ice cream

So I know this sounds just like the ice cream above, and it does use the same trick. But this is so special that it deserves its own category! This amazing recipe is by Jo Pratt, who is one of my favourite cookery writers. Her recipes are simple and clever, and this one is no exception.

Freeze a sliced banana as for banana ice cream. Put into a blender along with 1 tablespoon of dulce de leche (toffee sauce), 1 tbsp double cream and 2 tbsp fresh custard. Blend until smooth and serve! Scales up by 2, 3, 4 etc very easily for an impressive dinner party dessert (Jo Pratt serves it with a puff pastry pear and pecan tart, which is also delicious, but that is for another day…)

5. Fluffy banana pancakes

Fluffy banana pancakes (photo by Elli O. on Unsplash)

I love making pancakes for breakfast at the weekend. I am a big fan of sweet and savoury together, and a general believer that bacon improves most things. So I have my pancakes with bananas, bacon, and maple syrup! Not for everyone, I realise, so just leave out the bacon if you don’t fancy it. But if you want to try, make sure you get streaky bacon, and fry until quite crisp. It contrasts beautifully with the fluffy pancakes and silky maple syrup.

Here is the pancake recipe I always use for American pancakes — it never fails me, although the first one is often a dud. Don’t despair, the rest will still be lovely! This one is shown with blueberries, but you can just as easily replace them with slices of banana… If you get the chance, briefly fry slides of banana in a little butter first, then just spoon the batter on top. The bananas add a lovely caramelised sweetness to the pancakes.

I hope this helps reduce the crazy numbers of bananas we seem to waste every day. I don’t think I have wasted a single one ever since I started making smoothies and freezing bananas for later use.

If there are other ingredients that you seem to waste often, please let me know and I’ll see if I can come up with creative ways of using them up!