Bananas are one of those tricky foods that has a very short window of perfect ripeness. The pre-ripe period lasts forever, then there’s one or two days of perfect ripeness before they rapidly go brown. It seems to happen so quickly that you’re often left wondering why you even bothered buying bananas in the first place!
If you’re anything like me, you’ll ask yourself that question, and then buy another bunch of bananas the next time you’re at the store because you never learn. ;-) But rather than toss out those overripe bananas, there are plenty of ways you can put them to good use!
And we’ll be exploring several of those uses in today’s post, covering an array of treats, snacks, homemade beauty treatments, plant food, and all sorts of other uses that might surprise you!
So here’s to those neglected brown bananas on our countertops. May we all stop seeing them as food fails, and instead see them as food opportunities! :-)
11 Uses For Overripe Bananas
1. Banana Bread
Banana bread is a classic, and one of my all-time favorite baked treats. Those overripe bananas on your counter are practically begging you to turn them into banana bread!
Want banana bread, but your bananas aren’t ready? Check out this post for an easy way to quickly ripen bananas (and for my favorite recipe for gluten-free banana bread!)
Peel, chop, and freeze your overripe bananas so you can add them to smoothies later. Bananas get sweeter as they ripen, so use a bit less than you’d normally add to your smoothie mix (unless you’re fine with your smoothie tasting mostly like bananas!)
3. Sugar Scrub
Use an overripe banana to make an exfoliating sugar scrub. Peel and mash your banana in a small bowl, then add 3 tablespoons of sugar and a few drops of lavender essential oil and mix well with a fork.
Hop in the shower and rub your banana sugar scrub all over for soft, smooth skin! The creamy banana flesh adds a soothing effect to this scrub, and works well as a carrier for other ingredients.
4. Shoe Shine
Use the inside of a banana peel as shoe polish. Rub it onto your shoes, and buff with a soft cloth for a quick and easy shine! Bananas contain potassium, which also happens to be found in—you guessed it—shoe polish.
Super sweet overripe bananas make a tasty addition to a bowl of oatmeal! Mash your banana in a bowl, then top it with your favorite oatmeal or hot cereal. Stir together for a delicious and creamy breakfast that is sure to keep you satisfied until lunchtime.
6. Ice Cream
Use a couple of bananas to make a frozen “ice cream” treat! You won’t believe how easy (or how delicious!) it is.
7. Two-Ingredient Cookies
Mash an overripe banana in a mixing bowl and you’re already halfway to a batch of tasty banana oatmeal cookies! Add 1 cup of rolled oats to your mashed banana and mix well, then scoop the dough in tablespoon-sized portions onto a prepared baking sheet. Bake the cookies at 350°F for 13-15 minutes, and let cool before serving.
8. Hair Mask
Bananas contain vitamins A, E, and C and natural oils that can help prevent split ends, improve hair growth, and improve hair’s elasticity, which makes them a great addition to a homemade hair mask. Bananas can also make your hair shinier and bouncier!
Add one banana, 2 tablespoons of your carrier oil of choice, 2 tablespoons of honey, and 1/2 cup of coconut milk to your blender or food processor. Blend until the mixture is super smooth.
Apply the mixture to your hair, making sure that it is evenly distributed all over your hair and scalp. Put on a disposable shower cap and let the mask sit for 30 minutes, then rinse the mask out and wash your hair as normal. Enjoy your silky soft hair!
9. Egg Replacement
You can use a medium-sized banana to replace one egg in most baking recipes. Bananas make an effective egg replacement because of their abundance of specific starches and sugars. Just peel and mash the banana, and toss it right in!
10. Plant Fertilizer
Use a banana to make a concentrated fertilizer for your house plants that’s rich with vitamins and minerals that help promote growth. The potassium content of bananas can help promote general plant health, build up resistance to disease, and increase plant strength!
Place a peeled banana in a jar full of water and replace the lid. Let the jar sit out for a day or two, then strain out any solids. To use your fertilizer, dilute 1/2 cup of the concentrated banana plant food with one gallon of water. Use the diluted fertilizer to water your house plants as usual.
11. Banana Tea
Use an overripe banana and some cinnamon to prepare a tea that can help promote sleepiness at bedtime. The potassium from the banana helps regulate blood pressure and support your nervous system, while magnesium helps relax your muscles.
Cinnamon also regulate blood sugar levels in your body, which can help offset the spikes in blood sugar that are known to contribute to sleeplessness. Learn how to make this simple banana tea at the link below!
Read More: How To Make Banana Tea For Insomnia
What do you usually do with overripe bananas?