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. And after that? The bananas quickly go from spotted to brown and beyond, and you’re 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! We’re talking uses like treats, snacks, homemade beauty products, plant food, and all sorts of other uses that may surprise you.
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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. :-)
10 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 my blog post for an easy way to quickly ripen bananas. (And don’t miss 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 add these pieces judiciously 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. Add 3 Tbsp 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!
Bananas are a natural for body care. Their creamy pulp is luscious and soothing, 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 is coincidentally found in, you guessed it, shoe polish.
Mash a banana in a bowl, then top with your favorite oatmeal or hot cereal. Stir together for a delicious and creamy breakfast that is sure to keep you full 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 medium-sized bowl, and you’re already halfway to a batch of tasty two-ingredient cookies! Add 1 cup of rolled oats to your mashed banana and mix well. Scoop the dough onto a prepared baking sheet (about 1 Tbsp of dough per cookie). Bake in a 350 degree oven for 13-15 minutes, and let cool before eating.
8. Hair Mask
Whip up a nourishing hair mask! Bananas contain vitamins A, E, and C and natural oils which prevent split ends, improve hair growth, and improve hair’s elasticity. They also make your hair shinier and bouncier!
Add one banana, 2 Tbsp of your carrier oil of choice, 2 Tbsp 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. Rinse the mask out and wash your hair as normal, and enjoy your silky soft hair!
9. Egg Replacement
You can use a medium-sized banana to replace one egg in most baking recipes. Bananas work great as an egg replacer due to 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. The fertilizer will provide your plants with vitamins and minerals that help promote growth. Bananas are rich in potassium which helps promote general plant health, builds up resistance to disease, and increases plant strength!
Place a peeled banana in a jar full of water, then put on the lid. Let the jar sit that way 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 mixture to water your house plants as usual.