Banana peels are edible!
I don’t recall where I heard it, but it was probably on one of the podcasts that I follow. Anyway banana peels are edible and can be used in a variety of ways. I like to chop them up and toss them into stir fries, where they sorta kinda have the texture of mushrooms, in a way. And you can even make a Banana Peel Cake.
To use them, cut off both the tip and the stem end of the banana, and rinse them off before peeling. I add a banana to my breakfast cereal and save the peel by freezing it. I keep a freezer bag handy for the purpose and just toss the new peel into it.
I found several different recipes for Banana Peel Cake, so I put the JTTK to work to find the best one (that’s the JT Test Kitchen for the uninitiated). And my tasters were working overtime, sampling a generous slice of each. In the end I don’t think you can go far wrong with any recipe, but I did finally settle on a combination of two different ones—one for the cake itself and one for the topping.
The recipe is vegetarian but easily converted to vegan by substituting flaxseed for the eggs (mix one tablespoon flaxseed with three tablespoons water for each egg). And yes, I tested the vegan version and it’s just as tasty as the vegetarian one.
You’ll notice that the cake itself uses six the banana peels and the topping uses four bananas; that’s where having some frozen peels comes in handy. BTW, you can make the cake without the topping but you may want to increase the amount of sugar. The original recipe called for two and half cups of sugar (!) but I found that one to one and a half cups works well; use the higher amount if making it without the topping.
Oh, the original recipe called for separating the eggs and folding the egg whites in at the end. Now I can separate eggs with the best of them (just put one here and one there, etc.) but I didn’t find any real advantage in the finished product, so I ignored that step. Feel free to separate them if you like.
And one more note: I found that substituting up to a half cup of oat flour in place of the same amount of white flour works well. I’ve even added some rolled oats in place of some of the flour on one occasion.
Banana Peel Cake
6 banana peels (frozen are fine)
1/2 cup water
4 eggs (or flaxseed to make it vegan; see note above)
1 to 1 1/2 cups white sugar
5 tablespoons butter or olive oil
3 cups plain flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
- Preheat oven to 375° F (190°C)
- Grease a 9” bundt pan
- Put the banana peels and half a cup of water into a blender or
food processor. Blend them until they turn into a smooth mush. Set aside.
- Beat the butter (or olive oil), eggs, and sugar in a mixing bowl.
- Add the banana peel mixture, the flour, and the baking powder, and
- Pour into a cake pan. Bake for about 45 minutes.
Juice of one lemon
2 tablespoons port wine (I use sweet vermouth)
1/2 cup sugar
Zest of one orange
- Slice the bananas and sprinkle them with the lemon juice
- Heat the sugar and wine in a pan until the sugar begins to dissolve.
- Add the bananas and orange zest and simmer till the mixture thickens (use a potato masher or immersion blender to get to the consistency that you like, very smooth or slightly lumpy)
- Pour the mixture over the still warm cake.
As I can’t eat the whole cake before it goes stale, I usually freeze half of it and half of the topping (separately, of course).
Although I haven’t tried any variations, I suspect that adding some chopped nuts would work well.
Oh, and you can find the original recipes here (for the topping) and here (for the cake).