What to do with leftover bananas

A staple of most shopping baskets, bananas go from ripe to overripe fairly quickly and are one of our most wasted food items. Emily Gussin is here to change all that with ideas for using up every part of leftover bananas, including the skin…

What to do with leftover bananas

Make them last longer

Store your bananas in a cool, dry place (not the fridge). Hanging is ideal as it lets the air flow around them. Bananas release ethylene, a gas that triggers ripening in fruit, so unless you have fruit you want to ripen, keep them apart. For the same reason, don’t store newly purchased bananas with older ones – unless they’re green.

Freeze the brown ones

Don’t throw overripe bananas away! Slice (no need to peel – see below), then freeze for whizzing into smoothies from frozen. They’ll act as ice too, giving your smoothie a cool, smooth finish. Or mash the flesh, then freeze in a bag to defrost later for use in baking – or put in ice-cube trays and use a cube instead of sugar, to balance a tomato sauce or sweeten rice pudding.

Leftover bananas can help sweeten puddings


Make overnight oats

For a nutritious breakfast on the go, prepare overnight oats with mashed banana. If it’s overripe you probably won’t need to add any honey or extra sweetness, and the mushy texture will be masked by the oats – win-win.

Go beyond banana bread

We all know you can use overripe bananas in banana bread, but if you’re looking for something different, bananas are great in cookies, muffins and other cakes.

Try adding bananas to all manner of bakes


Eat the skins

I don’t advise chewing them raw but give banana skins a scrub, cut off the stem and base, then whizz into smoothies or make a purée to use in classic banana bakes. You can also shred the skins as you would pulled pork or chicken. Season, add some spices, then fry for 5-10 minutes (with a splash of water) until tender. ‘Pulled banana skins’ are great in a curry or barbecue sauce. And the skins are high in healthy fibre, too.

Take a look at our banana recipes for more ideas.

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