How banana peels can be turned into tasty, nutritious treats

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From cooking with banana peel flour to baking bacon with banana peel, there are a number of ways you can turn the skin of this fruit into a healthy treat. Nicolas Balcazar/EyeEm/Getty Images
  • New research shows banana peels can be powdered and used to increase the nutritional value and shelf life of sugar cookies.
  • Experts say banana peels are a source of powerful antioxidants and important vitamins.
  • They also say that while peels are nutritious, they don’t replace food groups, but can be part of a balanced diet.

Increasingly, an item that was once considered inedible is being turned into delicious meals. Now researchers have discovered that the banana peels we normally compost or throw away can be made into nutritious flour.

A new study finds that using the right amount of banana peel flour in sugar cookie batter produces a more nutritious cookie that still tastes good.

“The main goal of this study was to turn raw banana peel into a valuable product because it is rich in dietary fiber and antioxidants, which are very beneficial for health,” study author Faizan Ahmad, an assistant professor at Aligarh Muslim University, told me. healthline.

The researchers started by blanching the banana peels, drying them and grinding them into a fine powder.

They mixed different amounts of this banana peel flour with butter, skimmed milk powder, powdered sugar, vegetable oil and wheat flour to make five different batches of sugar cookies and baked them.

Ahmad and his team found that replacing 15% wheat flour with banana peel flour produced browner and harder cookies, possibly due to the increased fiber from the peels.

According to researchers, the banana peel flour cookies were healthier, with less fat and protein, higher amounts of phenols and improved antioxidant levels than those made with wheat flour alone.

Ahmad stressed that using banana peel in food product formulations can help improve nutritional quality while helping to prevent several diseases, including cardiovascular disease, constipation, colon cancer, diabetes and obesity.

“It can also help lower blood sugar and cholesterol,” he added.

A trained panel found that the cookies with the least banana peel powder (just 7.5%) had the best texture and the highest overall acceptability compared to the other four batches.

This batch also held up well and tasted the same as the wheat-only versions, even after three months of storage at room temperature.

“Therefore, including banana peel in the formulation of biscuits can be used as a good alternative to improve their nutritional value and shelf life,” Ahmad noted.

“According to our research, the use of bananas can be a good alternative in the formulation of bakery products because they are widely consumed,” says Ahmad.

He pointed out that cookies supplemented with banana peel have improved “functional and nutritional properties” and a longer shelf life, because banana peel is rich in antioxidants and phenols.

“Polyphenols are strong antioxidants that have been studied and shown to improve blood flow and circulation in your body, which can help lower your blood pressure and improve your heart health,” says Amargo Couture, a registered health practitioner. dietitian at Staten Island University Hospital in New York. York.

Emily Feivor, a registered dietitian at Long Island Jewish Forest Hills in Queens, part of New York’s Northwell Health, said that in non-Western countries, many chefs and cultures leave the banana peel on when cooking.

“Those following a vegan or vegetarian diet can use the peels as a meat alternative in recipes such as ‘banana peel bacon’ or ‘banana peel carnitas,'” she added.

Feivor said peels are a good source of fiber as well as a similar texture that mimics protein, and there are many recipes available on the internet that use them.

“Recipes as simple as boiled, sprinkled with cinnamon and eaten with a spoon to a more complex preparation of caramelization to be used as an ice cream topping,” she said.

“For those looking for ways to reduce food waste, this could be an option,” Feivor said. “

She also said that for people looking for ideas to experiment with by trying new ingredients, banana peel can be something that challenges their culinary skills.

“Especially if you’re gluten-free and would like more fiber in gluten-free baking,” says Feivor.

However, she cautioned that while peels contain extra fiber and vitamins/minerals when used as an ingredient, they do not take the place of any food group, but can be used as part of a balanced diet.

Feivore recommends washing and scrubbing banana peels thoroughly to remove bacteria, dirt, pesticides, or outside contaminants.

Feivor also said peels are another interesting way to add healthy variety to our diets.

“If you want to add a new texture and flavor to your cooking, try a recipe that uses banana peel as an ingredient,” she said. “The benefits can help your body prevent disease.”

New research shows banana peels can be powdered and used to increase the nutritional value and shelf life of sugar cookies.

Experts say banana peels are a source of powerful antioxidants and important vitamins.

They also say that while peels are nutritious, they don’t replace food groups, but can be part of a balanced diet.

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