Why you should eat more banana skins.


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Why you should eat more banana skins.

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At a time in which minimising food waste is the top of mind for many it seems that there is no better time to talk about the skins of bananas and all the things you can do with them.

Bananas are one of the most popular fruits in Australia with us tucking into upwards of 5 million bananas every single day. If you then consider that this translates into many millions of tonnes of banana peels that we simply throw away when we could actually be eating them, it is a no brainer to utilise the entire banana whenever we can.

And not only are the peels an economical way to boost the bulk of any smoothie, baked good or even curry that you are making you will also boost your nutritional intake significantly when you add banana peels to your favourite banana based recipes.

Specifically you will increase your overall fibre content by at least 10% as a lot of dietary fibre can be found in the skin of the banana. You will get almost 20% more Vitamin B6 and almost 20% more Vitamin C and you will boost both your potassium and magnesium intake.

Now when we are talking about eating the skin of the banana we are not talking about chomping down the bright yellow banana skin along with the banana. Rather cooking the skin to soften it will help to break down some of the cell walls within the skin helping to make the nutrients easily to absorb. Next blending the skin into recipes or smoothies is the most practical way to use them. Here you will increase the volume and nutritional content of recipes with minimal change to taste and texture of the cooking. For example if you make your smoothie with a whole banana chop the ends of the skin, chop into small pieces and simply blend with the rest of the smoothie. For recipes such as muffins or banana bread, cooking the skin first before mixing it into the recipe is an easy way to incorporate them.

Specifically bananas with bright yellow skins have a higher proportion of antioxidants associated with anti-cancer effects while green skins (less ripe bananas) are particularly rich in the amino acid tryptophan which is associated with good sleep quality. Green banana skins are also rich in resistance starch, the special type of fibre known to benefit gut health. As these skins are much tougher, they are definitely best consumed after boiling to soften the skins.

On top of their positive nutritional benefits banana skins also have several other practical uses in day to day life. Cooking meat on top of them will help to boost the moisture content of any meal while they also make a great vinegar but without a doubt my favourite way to use the skins is within recipes I already make, but can boost the fibre by using the skins.

Give it a go yourself and let me know how you find it.

Recipe: Banana Bread

Ingredients

2 cups self-raising flour

1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

2/3 cup caster sugar

1 cup low fat milk

2 eggs

50g butter, melted

2 whole bananas, ends cut off and blended

1 teaspoon pure vanilla essence

Method

1. Mix flour, bicarbonate of soda, sugar in a bowl with mashed banana, vanilla, eggs, milk and butter.

2. Spoon into loaf tin and bake at 180°C for ~50-60 minutes until cooked through.

Susie is currently a brand ambassador for Australian Bananas. To learn more about the partnership, click here.

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