Don’t throw away your overripe bananas! I remember the days when I would purchase a bunch of bananas only to watch them turn brown and mushy on the counter before throwing them away, untouched. These days I shudder to think at the waste of such a perfectly delicious and nutritious food. A few years ago, I started down a road of eating more healthfully by basing my diet around whole foods. Since then, my consumption rate of bananas as sky-rocketed.
Even though I use them more frequently(read: every single day!), there are still times when some of the bananas get to an overripe state in which I no longer enjoy the texture. One day, it dawned on me that instead of throwing them out, I could use them in ways that would benefit from the mushier texture and sweeter flavor. Here are three ways I have learned to use my overripe bananas:
Bananas get sweeter when they ripen due to the starch breaking down into sugar. This makes ripe bananas a wonderful plant-based sweetener for baked goods such as Vegan Banana Bread, or added to pancakes like my favorite from 30 Day Vegan Challenge. Bananas are also a great replacement for eggs in vegan baking.
I add bananas to most of my smoothies because I love the flavor and because they provide a whole food source of sweetness. They also blend into a very smooth creamy texture which I love. Some of my favorite smoothie recipes include Banana Walnut Smoothie and Banana Berry Smoothie. Try making your own smoothie recipes by switching up your fruits(avocado, melon, coconut), veggies(spinach, kale, carrot, cucumber), liquids (nut milks, juices, coconut water), nuts(almonds, walnuts) and seeds(flax, chia, sunflower). The combinations are endless! I frequently freeze over ripe bananas so that I always have them on hand for smoothies. Using frozen bananas helps the texture be thicker and the temperature to be colder without having to add ice.
As is the theme with this post, the sweetness of over ripe bananas lend themselves to treats. Ripe bananas can be used raw in my types of desserts like Pumpkin Cheesecake With Pecan Crunch Topping. Bananas can also be frozen to be saved for later use in One Ingredient Vegan Ice Cream.
How to save your over ripe bananas
1. Peel – Always peel your bananas before freezing! When I first thought to freeze my over ripe bananas I didn’t think ahead and just popped them into the freezer peel and all. Big mistake! Upon removal from the freezer I found them rock solid and was unable to remove the peel from the bananas.
2. Chop - Chopping your bananas into chunks before freezing will make them easier to blend into smoothies or process into a delicious vegan ice cream.
3. Freeze – Place your chopped bananas into a freezer proof container to save for use at a future date. I usually use mine pretty quickly but I think they would last for quite a while in the freezer.
4. Use or thaw – You can use your frozen bananas right away for smoothies and vegan ice cream or thaw out for use in baked goods like banana bread.