After your fifth loaf of chocolate-matcha banana bread (can you really ever have enough?), you wind up with a whole lot of peels in the trash. They’ve always been seen as waste—or, you know, something you slip on in slapstick comedies—but by tossing them, you’re seriously missing out on some creative uses for banana peel uses.
There are so many unexpected uses for banana peels. You can use them to make your plants look as pretty as the day you brought them home, transform them into plant-based meat good enough to fool your meat-loving friends, and even use them to help you sleep better at night. Yeah, definitely not garbage by any means. Before you throw them away, try one of these creative banana peel uses.
The unexpected banana peel uses you haven’t tried yet
1. Make a plant-based pulled pork sandwich
Making pulled pork the plant-based way simply means collecting your banana scraps. According to Melissa Copeland of The Stingy Vegan, all you need to do is clean the peels, shred them with a fork, season them, then cook them. After they’re done, you’ll have tender zero-waste “meat” for your sandwiches that tastes nothing like bananas.
2. Shine your plant’s leaves
If dust is piling up on your plant’s leaves, it can clog its pores, making it hard for it to breathe. To keep those leaves shiny and dust-free, gently rub them with the inside of the banana peel. Your plant will look like a million bucks and be healthier in the process.
3. Get rid of marks and scuffs on your shoes
The inside of a banana peel is a great all-natural shoe shiner. Grab your leather or faux leather shoes and buff them until they’re shiny and mark-free. After you’re done, wipe away any leftover banana residue and you’re good to go.
4. Blend them into a smoothie
It might sound weird, but instead of just tossing your banana into the blender, add the peel, too. They’re loaded with fiber, making your morning beverage that much more filling and satisfying. Plus, you’ll never even know it’s there.
5. Brew some sleepy tea
Who knew banana peels were the secret ingredient you needed for better sleep? “Bananas are full of various sleep-promoting nutrients, specifically the natural muscle relaxants magnesium and potassium,” says registered dietitian Eliza Savage, RD. “They also contain an amino acid called tryptophan, which is a precursor for the sleep hormone, melatonin, and the mood-influencing neurotransmitter, serotonin.” To reap the benefits, clean the peel and put it in a small saucepan. Once the water comes to a boil, reduce the heat and let it sit for 10 minutes. Then pour it into a mug—sans peel!—and it’s ready to sip.
6. Use them to give your plants a boost
Instead of tossing banana peels in the garbage, use them to give your plants a boost. “They provide them with potassium and phosphorous, which is super important not only for root develop and plant strength, but it helps them fight off pests and diseases,” said professional gardener CaliKim on her YouTube channel. Simply drop a couple banana peels in a pitcher of water and let it sit for a couple days. Then, use that water to water your plants.
7. Make vegan bacon
Banana peel pulled pork is one thing… but bacon? According to Sam Turnbull of It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken, you can make perfectly crispy bacon by marinating your banana peels then pan-frying them over medium heat. It only takes a few minutes for them to become crispy and golden brown.
If you need a delicious banana bread recipe, we have you covered: