Zero Waste Banana Peel Bread
Updated: Feb 6
Don't be a hater until you've tried this banana bread made with banana peels. It may make you squirm thinking about it, but I've done quite a few taste tests and nobody seems to tell the difference with the peel included. Why include the peels at all you ask? Well, it saves you money because you buy less bananas. It also wastes less food!
Waste Less Food by Using the Scraps
Worldwide, we waste one-third of the food we produce. If food waste were a country, it would be the third largest producer of carbon emissions! In the U.S, 22% of our landfill trash is food waste. So yeah, baking with your banana peels seems like a small act but we need to shift our culture away from wasting food.
This is just one example of how we can take something that, at least in the U.S., we don't typically consume and turn it into a delicious treat! This zero waste banana peel bread is sure to taste good and keep banana peels out of the landfill!
Did you know that banana peels won't break down in the landfill?
The Taste Test
You can worry all you want that this recipe will taste disgusting but real world tests simply don't back that up. I've had my fiancé, friends, and family all try a blind test with banana peel bread and regular banana bread - and no one can tell the difference!
The color will be slightly darker with the banana peel bread as you're using brown bananas. But unless compared side by side to one without, it's a small difference.
Making Banana Peel Bread
The trick to cooking with banana peels is to use peels that are good and ripe. Like, brown ripe. Those mushy bananas you forgot in the back of the fridge? Those are perfect. The more ripe the banana peels are, the easier they will break down in the recipe and create a typical banana texture.
Don't be afraid to use banana peels that have been frozen too! I love being able to toss my brown bananas and peels into a freezer container knowing that I'll be coming back for them later on. You'll be squashing everything up anyways so you don't have to worry about the freezer messing up the texture.
Ready to use up those bananas?
Zero Waste Banana Peel Bread
This recipe is slightly adapted from Lindsey-Jean Hard's recipe in Cooking with Scraps.
1 ripe organic banana*
5 Tbs. softened salted butter**
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 whole egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1. Preheat the over to 350 degrees.
2. Prepare one very ripe banana (fresh and VERY squishy or frozen and defrosted) by washing it thoroughly. Remove the stem. Remember this recipe uses the banana and the peel - so no need to peel it!
3. Place the banana with the peel in the blender. If it isn't quite falling apart yet, cut it into chunks before blending it. If it appears too thick to really break up, add up to two tablespoons of water (or milk!). You should blend it until the peel is in very tiny chunks (but you'll still be able to see black spots).***See note if you do not have a blender.
4. In a bowl, mix together the soft butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
5. Add in the whole egg, vanilla extract, and banana mixture. Mix until incorporated, whipping down the edges of the bowl as needed.
5. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, salt, and baking soda.
6. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until just incorporated.
7. Add your optional chocolate chips and gently give a final mix!
8. Place mixture into a buttered 8x4 inch pan.
9. Cook for 40 minutes at 350 degrees.
Viola! Remove from the pan and enjoy over the next few days! Share it with a friend and then tell them the secret ingredient to watch their surprise!
Why organic bananas?
*Organic bananas: Because you will be cooking this recipe with the peels, it's important to purchase organic bananas. The peel absorbs and captures any pesticides or chemicals sprayed on the plant while growing. When we eat the peel vs. discarding it, we will ingest those chemicals ourselves.
Why salted butter?
**Salted butter: Okay, many pastry chefs and professional bakers may get upset at me but I ALWAYS use salted butter. Sue me! Baking usually calls for unsalted butter but I simply ignore it, no matter the recipe, and use salted. So whether you have salted or unsalted butter, you'll be fine!
What if I don't have a blender?
***If you do not have a blender, you can also place the banana in a pan with 1/2 cup water. It is important to cut the banana up before cooking it and then to cook it on a simmer until it falls apart. Use a fork or potato masher to beat up the banana peel as much as possible. Use this mixture as you would use the blended banana in the recipe.