Banana Chocolate Bread & the Almighty Peel

Food waste is a big issue nowadays, one that we should all be tackling. There are so many ways of cutting down on waste. Banana bread is a fantastic way of using those very ripe bananas in your fruit bowl that tend to be ignored. A banana can not be too ripe for this bread, unless it is mouldy or has been attacked by fruit flies.

Banana trees only bear fruit once in their lifetime and take approximately 9-15 months to grow and fruit and another 2-4 months to ripen. They also do need a lot of fertiliser. And here’s why we shouldn’t waste them:

  • The excess fertiliser left in deserted banana plantations is massively impacting eutrophication in local waters such as: streams, lakes and coastal areas. This means that an increased amount of minerals and nutrients end up in nearby waters which encourages algae production – the so called algal bloom. This in turn depletes the waters of oxygen, hence harming aquatic life.
  • It is said that 60% of the coral reef in Costa Rica has been destroyed by sediments from banana plantations.
  • Deforestation is also a big topic as monocultures such as banana plantations deplete soils massively, driving them to ever greater deforestation in search of nutrient rich soils.
  • The WWF states that banana plantations are the most wasteful form of agriculture.

It is not surprising that bananas (botanically a berry) are so popular – we consume approximately 100 billion bananas per year which equates to 11kg per person! It probably is the first fruit that you try as a baby and it almost certainly is the one fruit that babies won’t reject. Bananas are easily transportable and are immediately ready to be eaten. It is a favourite amongst sports people as it supplies energy in two forms: quick-release glucose and slow release fructose.

The Almighty Banana Peel
We always talk about how good bananas are for us but the peel is often ignored and discarded. This will change when you read the following list of all its various uses. Your skin will love you!

  • Great for your skin!
    • Anti-aging: the antioxidants and vitamin C in the peel can help decrease the appearance of wrinkles. The nutrients will soften your skin by hydrating it and by boosting collagen production. It will also help brighten skin tone and reduce dark circles → rub the inside of the peel over your skin, leave for 30 minutes, rinse and moisturise. Repeat three times a week.
    • Reduce puffiness: place the peel on your closed eyes. Relax.
    • Reducing acne: thanks to its nutrients – vitamin C and E, potassium, iron, zinc and manganese – it will calm inflamed skin and reduce both acne outbreaks and pimples → rub the inside of the peel over your skin, leave it for some minutes and rinse.
    • Anti-inflammatory: the oils in the peel have a calming effect on mosquito bites → rub the inside of the peel on your bite.
    • Scarring: the high levels of antioxidants and potassium can assist the healing of scars → rub the inside of the peel daily over the scar. Remove with a moist cloth.
  • Whiten your teeth: high amount of potassium in the peel can help reduce yellow stains on your teeth → brush your teeth, rub them with the inside of the peel for two minutes. Rinse. Repeat daily.
  • Household Cleaning:
    • Polish your shoes: potassium (which is also included in shoe polish) and natural oils found in the peel are great for making your shoes shine → rub your shoes with the inside of the not overly ripe peel, finish by buffing with a soft cloth.
    • Polish your silver: potassium will make your metal shine again. Just put the peels in a blender, add a bit of water and mix until you get a paste. Rub the silver with the paste. You could also just rub the peel directly on your silver.
  • Gardening: they are a great fertiliser as the peel contains 42% of potassium (one of the 3 major ingredients of fertilisers). Potassium has several benefits for your plants: it helps the transfer of nutrients and water between cells, it strengthens the stem and fights off disease. They are especially beneficial for plants that produce flowers and fruits such as fruit trees, tomatoes and flowers in general. How to use it?
    • Bury the peel next to the root of the plant. It will slowly release its nutrients.
    • Brew a banana tea: Put the banana peels in a pot and cover with water. Let it stew for a week or two. Use the liquid on your plants.

→ As with all information online, I cannot guarantee that they are all equally effective. But I have just successfully polished my silver with a banana peel. I’d love to hear from you how you are getting on and if any of the above worked. My wrinkles are next!!!

Banana Chocolate Bread
The Banana Chocolate Bread recipe in this post is vegan and truly feels like a decadent treat. It is packed with lots of healthy bits such as coconut oil, spelt flour, walnuts and pumpkin seeds. It can easily be adapted to your taste. The recipe is from Caroline Marie Dupont which I found on Sarah Britton’s blog: My New Roots.

Recipe

Makes 1 loaf

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp plant milk – I use oat
  • 6 tbsp coconut oil
  • 6 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 5 ripe bananas around 450g / 2 1/4 cups
  • 240g spelt flour 2 cups
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 75g walnut chopped
  • 25g pumpkin seeds
  • 100g dark chocolate chopped

Method

  1. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan.
  2. Grease a loaf tin (22cm/8.5in) and line the base and sides with baking parchment.
  3. In a blender, add the milk, oil, maple syrup, vanilla extract and bananas and blend until smooth.
  4. Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl, add the banana mixture and fold in – don’t over mix it.
  5. Add the nuts, seeds and chocolate and stir.
  6. Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin and bake in the oven for around 1h until cooked through (knife should come out clean).
  7. Leave to cool completely before slicing. 
  8. Enjoy!

Tips / Variations

  • Use whatever nuts and seeds that you like.
  • In need of a naughtier version? Exchange dark chocolate with white chocolate.
  • Don’t have coconut oil at home, use sunflower oil or even soft butter.
  • Store in an airtight container in the fridge. Will easily last 5 days.
  • Freezes really well. Just cut it in slices so you can have a quick treat at any time.
  • Why not toast it for this extra bit of crunchiness. 

Print Recipe here:


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Sources
Healing Foods, Bananas, Banana peels are good for gardens,  10 Unusual Ways to Use Banana Peels, 23 Uses of Banana Peels for Skin Care, Hair Health, First Aid, and More, Myth or Magic: Can banana skins shine your shoes?, Why You Shouldn’t Throw Banana Peels. 5 Reasons They’re Great For The Skin

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