Human beings consume billions of bananas each year, making this peculiar yellow fruit one of the most popular foods in the world. Full of vitamins and minerals including potassium – a nutrient which is well known for its ability to aid with muscle recovery after strenuous physical activity – it’s easy to see why we like them so much. However, those billions of bananas we eat result in billions of banana peels which are typically thrown away, leading to several million pounds of waste added to world’s landfills each year. If you’re thinking, “Wow! That’s a lot of trash,” you’re right. But it doesn’t have to be.
Read on to discover how you can reduce the amount of waste you produce by transforming all of those discarded banana peels into something interesting and useful.
Probably the most popular – and easiest – use for banana peels is to mix them into the compost pile. Peels add potassium and phosphorus to compost which promote root development and overall plant health when incorporated into garden soil. Just be aware that banana peels are green material and too much of a good thing can offset the balance of your compost. Check out this great article to read more about the composition of healthy compost.
(Further reading: 35 Unexpected Things To Add To Your Compost Pile)
2. Compost Tea
On a similar note, if you don’t have a compost pile, you can still use banana peels to feed your garden. Simply drop a few peels into a bucket full of water and let it sit for a couple of days to make compost “tea.” Mix one part banana peel compost “tea” with five parts fresh water and feed this mineral-rich mixture to your plants about once per month in lieu of your normal watering. The added potassium and phosphorus will give your plants a boost to keep them growing strong.
3. Feed Your Seedlings
Chop up banana peels and bury one or two small pieces in the soil at the bottom of planting holes or seed-starting containers to give your young plants a boost of nutrients that will aid in root development and disease resistance. Just be sure that your seeds and seedlings aren’t directly touching the ripening peels at time of planting as this may burn and damage roots and seeds.
4. Dried Peel Fertilizer
One final tip for using banana peels as fertilizer is to dry them completely then grind the peels and incorporate them into the soil in your garden. This will have a similar effect as composting and burying the ripe peels, but without the danger of burning your plants. This and the previous three techniques may be used on just about all of the plants in your garden to boost their growth and overall health.
(Further reading: 5 Recipes To Superpower Your Garden Growth)
5. Deter Aphids
Bury a few small pieces of ripe banana peel just under the surface of the soil around garden plants which are prone to aphids. The tiny garden pests don’t like the gases emitted by decomposing peels and will quickly seek more appealing feeding grounds. Be sure to only use a few small pieces as the pungent aroma of whole peels may attract wasps, rodents, and other larger pests in search of a sweet snack.
6. Shine Up Houseplants
Rub the soft fleshy side of a banana peels on the leaves of your houseplants to clean off and dust or debris and give them a healthy glow. This is especially handy for indoor plants with waxy leaves like Scheffleras, Calatheas, Crotons, and Ficus trees.
(Further reading: Top 13 Air Purifying Houseplants)
7. Livestock Feed
Humans are not the only ones who enjoy bananas. Livestock like chickens, rabbits, and pigs will enjoy ground up dried banana peels added to their feed. Just make sure to clean the peels of any wax or pesticides before drying and offering them to pets or livestock.
8. Soothe Skin Irritations
Rub moist banana peels on bug bites, stings, and other skin irritations. The fruit acids, vitamins, and minerals will not only help to soothe away pain and itching. They’re also great for your skin!
9. Improve Your Complexion
Massage a piece of ripe banana peel over your entire face once every few days. The fruit acids and nutrients in the peel can help to exfoliate and nourish your skin, giving it a softer, younger, and healthier appearance.
10. Remove Warts
Sick and tired of that nasty wart that just won’t go away? Tried everything at the pharmacy and the natural health store, but nothing seems to work? Don’t despair! You can use banana peel to get rid of these persistent blemishes. Simply rub a piece of ripe peel over the wart each night before bed and watch it fade.
11.Shine Your Shoes
Just as banana peels are great for your skin, you can also use them to condition and polish your leather shoes. Simply rub the soft inside of a piece of ripe peel over the leather to refresh, clean, and shine!
The same fruit acids that make banana peels ideal for rejuvenating skin also make them perfect for polishing silver. Rub the inside of a piece of rip peel over dull and tarnished silver to restore its natural glow.
13. Whiten Teeth
Rub the soft inside of a fresh piece of banana peel on your teeth once per day for two weeks to remove stains and shine them without the use of potentially harmful chemicals.
(Further reading: 5 Natural Beauty Cheats You’ve Probably Never Heard Of)
14. Make Vinegar
Use your banana peels to create vinegar. Banana peel vinegar has a wonderfully sour, slightly bitter flavor with sweet undertones and makes a healthy and interesting flavoring for salads and other vegetable dishes. Check out the recipe, compliments of Livestrong.
15. Tenderize Meat
Add a ripe banana peel to the bottom of a roasting pan to keep the meat moist and tender while it’s cooking. For more awesome ideas that will help save you time in the kitchen, check out these 80 Mind Blowing Kitchen Hacks That Will Rock Your World.
16. Banana Peel Juice
By now it’s no secret that there are a lot of vitamins and nutrients in the peel of a banana. Take advantage of all of that extra nutritional value by juicing your peels. Simply add peels to a pot of boiling water for 10 minutes to extract the juices, remove peels, and let cool. You can then add the resulting banana peel juice to smoothies or other drinks for a boost of vitamins and minerals. Again, always be sure to wash the peels first to remove wax, dirt, and other contaminants before cooking them!