We all buy fresh fruit with the healthiest of intentions. But if you forget about those strawberries or overestimate how many bananas you'll actually eat in a week, your A for effort becomes food waste real fast.
But we're here to tell you: Step away from the garbage can! Fruit on the verge of spoiling can have many possible second lives that don't involve the trash.
"Overripe and bruised fruits may look bad, but they're perfectly fine to eat," says Bob Hannum, author of Juice & Smoothie Recipes That Heal. "If we can find a way to ignore unsightly bruises, we may just be able to impact the growing problem of throwing away too much food."
In fact, Linda Larsen, food journalist and author of 33 cookbooks, says ripe fruit does offer nutritional value. The first step: "Look for mold, which can produce toxins that can spread throughout the entire berry and make you sick," she says.
If your produce passes that test, turn to one of these easy uses for fruit on its last leg.
"Bananas don't last more than a few days at room temperature, even less if they're near apples," says Shereen Lehman, adjunct faculty member at the University of Bridgeport Human Nutrition Institute and co-author of Superfoods for Dummies and Clinical Anatomy for Dummies. So what do you do once they turn brown?
Hannum says the concentrated flavor of overly-ripe bananas actually makes them ideal for smoothies. Plus, dropping the bruised fruit in the blender eliminates the issue of eating a less-than-appetizing-looking brown banana.
Try his gluten- and dairy-free banana smoothie by blending these ingredients:
A seriously reliable Plan B: Whipping up a loaf of banana bread. Katie Workman, a cook and author of The Mom 100 Cookbook and Dinner Solved!, raves about her banana bread recipe: "Overripe bananas dream of one day becoming this banana bread," she says. "I purposefully buy more bananas than I know will be eaten because the overripe ones will force me to make it, which makes me, my whole family, and whatever neighbors come wandering by happy."
When your bananas are past their prime, peel them, cut into one-inch chunks, and pop them in the freezer (initially on a cookie sheet, then stored in a plastic container), Legman suggests.
When you're ready, make her "nice cream:" Remove the slices from the freezer and place them into a blender or food processor, along with one cup of almond milk and two tablespoons of almond butter. Purée until smooth and creamy. You can eat it immediately as a soft serve, or put the mixture in a covered container in the freezer, allowing it to harden for a future frozen treat.
Skip the full facial and turn to your bananas for an all-natural beauty mask. The moisture, potassium, and vitamins E and C make the fruit perfect for soothing and hydrating the skin. Bonus: Making your own mask is way cheaper than buying one at the drugstore. Try this simple banana, honey, and orange mask recipe, or another that celebrities swear by - either will leave your skin looking smooth and radiant.
Take the inside of a banana peel and swipe it along dusty plant leaves. Sounds wacky, but you'll be left with a shiny plant and no more residue.
It works, we swear. Peel the banana and get rid of any stringy remains on the inner part of peel. Then, rub the inside of the peel on your leather or silver. Buff with a soft cloth or paper towel, and voilà - the shine will be restored.
Wow! Very useful post.
I throw bad durian into my neighbour's yard to annoy them. Does that count as an use? Or chemical attack?
LOL Chemical Attack I always use old bananas for face masks. If you add some sugar your skin will thank you later.
You can use ripe to very ripe bananas to make banana bread. It is very easy to make and so delicious. There are lots of recipices on the internet or you can make your own version :)