Updated: Sep 6, 2020
Let's start with why you shouldn't be throwing old bananas away, or even composting them:
- They are much easier to digest in this state. The starch changes into sugar when bananas brown and this adds a higher glycemic index, making digestion easier and won't upset your stomach as opposed to eating green bananas.
- Bananas offer a higher level of antioxidants as they ripen, giving your more nutrients the longer you wait to eat them.
- The older they get, the sweeter they get, meaning you don't have to add as much unnatural sugar the later you use them.
- It prevents food waste (duh!) and you won't be literally throwing away money.
- There are a lot of simple recipes that don't take too much time out of your day.
- If you don't compost and throw your bananas right in the bin, the nutrients that could be returned back to the soil (or to your body) are instead going to simmer in a plastic bag underground for several years, and once they are released, it's like an emission time bomb.
I'm sure at least one of those points kept you from throwing your bananas away in the first place and now you want to know what to do with your browning bananas. So, let's dive right in:
1-3. Turn them into delicious banana bread, muffins, banana bread cookies:
My recipe I have here is actually for cookies, but you can skip the chilling and scooping and just dump this batter right into a loaf or muffin pan and enjoy some fluffy and delicious banana bread. Instead, bake the bread for about 30-40 minutes or the muffins for 20-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean and they are golden. Mix in walnuts, pecans, chocolate chips, or anything else you like to make it even more sweet and delicious.
4. Try something a little healthier and make breakfast cookies:
These cookies are basically granola or oatmeal bars and are so healthy that you can eat them for breakfast. Complete with bananas, protein, and toppings of your choice, this recipe makes the perfect grab and go breakfast or snack. Just like the other recipe, add in whatever toppings you enjoy best, bake, and enjoy! Find the full recipe here.
5-8. Even healthier still is smoothies:
Because brown bananas are easier to digest, they are also easier to blend. You can blend fresh bananas into your favorite smoothies. Some inspiration for you:
- bananas, blueberries, spinach, and plant milk
- bananas, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, and plant milk
- bananas, spinach, cocoa powder, peanut butter, and plant milk
- bananas, pineapple, mango, and plant milk (coconut milk in this recipe would make it taste like a pina colada)
Smoothie tip: freeze your fruits ahead of time to make the smoothie cold so you don't have to water it down with ice cubes!
9-10. Endless breakfast options:
Pancakes or waffles! Just substitute some of the liquid in your pancake batter for one or two mashed bananas and add some cinnamon and vanilla to make it taste like banana bread. Now you have banana flavored pancakes! They might take slightly longer to cook than normal pancakes or waffles, but it is worth it!
11. Freeze your bananas and save them for later:
As mentioned in my smoothie tip, I love to pre-freeze some bananas for smoothies to make them colder. Frozen bananas can also be used in "nice cream" or thawed and used in another recipe. Bananas are very versatile and freezing them doesn't limit your options! When freezing, make sure you peel the banana, and break each banana into chunks and freeze them on a plate or baking sheet first and then transfer into a container. This prevents them from sticking together...I learned this the hard way.
12. Make no churn "Nice Cream":
Like I mentioned in the above tip, you can enjoy all the things about ice cream, but a healthier version made out of bananas. This works best with a high speed blender or an immersion blender. Add bananas and your other favorite flavors (use my smoothie guide above) and just omit the milk or use significantly less than if you were going for a smoothie. This takes a bit of time, just stop periodically to scrap down the edges and go until your "nice" cream is creamy and delicious!
13-14. Mash them and add them to oatmeal or overnight oats:
I love doing this! It is an easy way to incorporate some more fruits into your breakfast, a great way to use up some old bananas, and a natural sweetener for your oats. I usually add them to my overnight oats so they're ready to go when I eat my breakfast at work, but the same can be applied to regular hot oats.
15. Slice 'em and make a yummy snack:
Banana chips! In order to get the perfect consistency (for my preference anyway), you'll have to take your time and slice them very finely, roughly 1/8 inch or 1/4 cm. From here, place them onto a well greased baking tray and sprinkle with cinnamon. Bake them on your oven's lowest temperature for about half an hour, remove them, and carefully flip them. Bake for another half an hour. At this point, when you remove them and they are still hot, they won't appear crunchy. As they cool, they will crisp up. You will want them to be golden brown.
16. Use them in any recipe as a substitute for fat or eggs:
If you're wanting to make chocolate chip cookies or brownies or cake (etc), substitute your old bananas for the egg or fat in the recipe. They texture will change slightly, but it will take the recipe to a whole new level!
17. Try adding it to your homemade granola:
I don't have a recipe for this up yet, but for my banana-peanut butter granola, I used two mashed bananas, 1/4 cup of melted peanut butter, a dash of water and vanilla and mixed. From here, add whatever seasoning and toppings you like as well as 2-3 cups of oats depending on the size of your bananas and the consistency you want. Spread onto a well greased baking tray, bake for 20 minutes, remove and flip, and bake for another 15 minutes or so until almost crispy, but not burnt. Like the banana chips, they will crisp up as they cool.
Or, you can add it as part of the liquid to your favorite homemade granola recipe!
Thanks for reading, if you have any other tips, leave them below so we can all get the most use out of our old bananas. Let me know if you try one of these recipes!