The list of substitutions for unhealthy ingredients in food is seemingly never-ending. Sugar, flour, and fat can be supplanted by monk fruit, stevia, flax seed, almond flour, coconut oil, avocado oil—the list goes on.
But would you ever have considered banana peels? According to a study published in 2022 in ACS Food Science and Technology, not only can humble banana peels sub for flour, but they also significantly increase nutritional value.
Not Just For Sundaes And Splits
Bananas are an incredibly versatile fruit. They can be used in desserts and savory dishes (like pulled “pork” made from banana peels). And don’t forget the approximately 5,000 batches of banana bread you panic-baked in 2020. And now, banana peels are being used as a substitute for wheat flour.
For the study, researchers peeled ripe, undamaged bananas, then blanched, dried, and ground the skins into a fine powder which they proceeded to use banana peel flour (BPF) to make cookies.
Finding The BPF Sweet Spot
Researchers made five batches with varying amounts of BPF, along with butter, skimmed milk powder, powdered sugar, vegetable oil, and wheat flour.
After testing them for flavor, nutritional value, and longevity, a “trained panel” found that cookies made with a 7.5% substitution of BPF had “the best texture and highest overall acceptability compared to the other batches,” according to a press release. Upping the amount of BPF to 15% made the cookies harder and darker—likely due to the peels’ increased fiber.
The BPF cookies stayed just as fresh as the wheat-only cookies after being stored at room temperature for three months. Plus, they were rich in fiber, magnesium, potassium, and antioxidants.
Will You Add ‘Naners To Your Next Batch?
In layman’s terms, adding ground banana peels to your sugar cookies might be an easy way to majorly boost the nutritional value without jeopardizing the flavor or longevity of your batch.
Don’t feel like grinding your own peels? We don’t blame you. Luckily, as the Barefoot Contessa always says, if you don’t have homemade BPF, store-bought is fine. And since the perfect ratio seems to be a 7.5% BPF substitution, a 32-ounce bag from LiveKuna can last through plenty of batches.