Banana peel

Why you shouldn’t throw banana peels away

They can be used to clean shoes, as plant feed or to soothe an itch: banana peels are more useful than you might think.

Marlies Seifert (Copy) / Getty Images (Image)

The Swiss consume around 11 kilos of bananas per person each year – that means a whole lot of banana peel, which usually ends up in the bin or on the compost heap. But that’s a big mistake! The yellow skin of our favourite fruit is useful in all sorts of ways. Important: only use the peel of organic bananas as they’re not contaminated with pesticides.

Plant feed

Cut the banana peel into small pieces and leave it to dry. Then add it to the compost soil and spread it around your plants. Roses and flowering perennials in particular benefit from the potassium contained in banana peel. The fruit’s skin can also be used as a liquid fertiliser for potted plants. To make this solution, simply boil 100 grams – also chopped into pieces – in one litre of water and leave the stock to stand overnight. Sieve the peel out the next morning – and you have your own organic fertiliser! As it contains no nitrogen, it can be used throughout the entire season without any problems.

Polishing surfaces

Whether it’s a sofa, handbag or a pair of trainers, banana peel can make leather that has become dull shine like new again! Simply rub the inside of the peel over the surface to be cleaned, allow it to take effect briefly and then polish with a soft cloth. The same method also works on chrome and steel surfaces – and even on tarnished jewellery or silver cutlery.

Skin balm

Funnily enough, it’s the white strands that many people find annoying, or even disgusting, that are actually beneficial. The so-called phloems are full of nutrients and enzymes. If you still don’t fancy eating them – admittedly, they’re not particularly tasty – then use them for skin care instead: the inside of banana peel has a soothing effect on irritated skin thanks to the phloem enzymes, which make insect bites less itchy, for example. Simply place the inside of the banana peel on the affected spot or wrap it around the skin and leave for 5-10 minutes.

Banana peels can also be eaten – and that’s no joke! They can be used to make a vegan alternative to bacon or a sweet oven-baked snack, for example.

Oven-baked bananas with a difference

Making oven-baked sweet snacks. Important: always use organic bananas for all banana peel recipes. You also need to remove the stalk and tip of the banana as well as all the white strands inside the peel. Put your oven-baked banana peels on a baking tray and sprinkle with sugar. “Bake for half an hour at 180 degrees, then they’re ready to eat”, says Handke.

The vegan bacon alternative

Even more surprising is his recipe for banana bacon or ‘bananacon’. Use brown peels from very ripe bananas. “You have to marinate them for at least four hours, but ideally overnight”, explains Handke. Then all you have to do is fry the banana peel off over a high heat – and your ‘bananacon’ is ready! You’ll need two banana peels:

  • 0.5 tbsp of smoked paprika

  • 2 tbsp of maple or agave syrup

  • 1 tbsp of tamari or ordinary soy sauce

  • Black pepper to taste

Other uses for banana peel

Is that all a bit too experimental for you? Well, don’t throw your banana peels away just yet. For example, they make a great fertiliser and repel aphids if you cut them into small pieces and spread them around plants.

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