Dec 7, 2018

Seven Uses for Leftover Bananas

Banana domestication began some 7,000 years ago. They are one of the most widely grown, traded, and eaten of all the crops. Modern bananas are sterile, containing only tiny residual seeds, so new banana plants are propagated from cuttings. Bananas have many uses and leaves, flowers, fruits, stems, and rhizomes are used for plates, food wrapping, medicines, stimulants, textiles, clothing, packaging, paper-making, crafts, ornaments, and ceremonial magic and ritual activities. Below are a few uses for the banana itself.

Pressing the inside of a banana peel onto a bite from a mosquito or other insect for a few minutes is a surprisingly simple way to stop itching. The use of banana peels to treat inflammation is said to be an ancient Chinese remedy to soothe poison ivy rashes, psoriasis, sunburn, and other skin maladies.

Tape a piece of the peel over a splinter, with the soft, inner side of the peel facing down and leave it in place for about 10 minutes. The enzymes in the fruit should help to force the splinter out.

Monarch butterflies are difficult to spot, but you can improve your chances by placing an overripe banana in your garden. They are soft and sweet enough for butterflies to enjoy. You can also place bananas near a hummingbird feeder to attract fruit flies, which the hummingbirds feast on. (Remove the bananas before you go to bed or you may have other animals like raccoons in your yard.)

While you are out in the garden feeding birds and butterflies, you can give your plants some nourishment, too. Cut up and bury banana peels to enrich the soil with nutrients and help feed plants.

Bananas have long been a staple in smoothies, but if you have a whole bunch that is about to go bad stick them in the freezer. You can pull one out any time you get a smoothie craving, and since it is frozen, you will not need to add ice.

Bananas are a great ingredient in DIY hair treatments and skin exfoliants. The amino and citric acids help protect hair from damage and keep it shiny. There are a few different recipes you can try, some of which combine banana with avocado, yogurt, egg, and other ingredients. Rubbing the inside of a banana peel onto your face (seriously, try it) is also said to brighten your skin, fight acne, and reduce puffiness around your eyes.

A recent study published in the journal PLOS One found that competitive cyclists who had consumed a banana instead of a sugary drink or water had less inflammation following their workout. Although other physicians cite the benefits of consuming bananas post-workout, the sample for this particular study was small, just 20 cyclists and was funded by Dole Foods (although it had no role in any part of the study). May be best to not experiment for the first time on race day.

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