Make Baked Goods, Yogurt, Smoothies, and Much More
As the most consumed fresh fruit in the USA, bananas are a significant source of potassium. AND the peels are also usable in powdered form for many things, so you now have a Zero-Waste food!
While it’s safe to assume that the tropical fruit is a year-round staple in most produce departments across the country, banana powder or finely milled dried banana pulp isn’t nearly as common. Like other dried fruit products, banana powder is a more concentrated source of most of the nutrients found in fresh bananas.
Although you may not have it in your kitchen, banana powder has been around for a while. The use of banana powder in baby formula has been widespread since the very early 1900s as a method of keeping babies healthy. The United Fruit Company (a.k.a. Chiquita Brands International) began to produce a product named Melzo (a home and soda fountain drink) during the 1930s, where their newly developed banana powder was the main ingredient. Because of the useful properties of banana powder, Melzo was marketed as a “health food for children and old folks, as a corrective for certain indigestion, and as a revitalizer for all who are sluggish mentally or physically”.
Not only does banana powder taste great in foods, it also helps to add sugar naturally, allowing you to use 10-20% less white sugar in your cooking. The fiber and nutrients are a great source of natural energy. Banana powder has an abundance of fiber, vitamins, and minerals, good-for-you fats, and many trace minerals making it a must in your kitchen cupboard. And, because it has pectin, bananas are also great for their thickening power. Banana powder is low in saturated fat, and very low in cholesterol and sodium. It is also a good source of dietary fiber and potassium. However, remember that a large part of the calories in this food come from sugars, so the carbohydrate load is high.
Banana powder is perfect for backpacking food, camping food, healthy snacks, and quick-and-easy cooking at home. This powder works for smoothies, yogurt, desserts, oatmeal, and as additions to many other foods for intense banana flavor. This is a great way to have bananas while out hiking, or even around the house, and is preferred over dehydrated banana slices for cooking because it is more versatile and easier to use. Dehydrated banana slices are usually hard to rehydrate quickly, but banana powder is very easy to rehydrate with just water for use in smoothies (even trail smoothies). Because the bananas are in powder form you can do a lot more to it, such as add vanilla or other fruit powders to give it some different flavors.
Uses for Banana Powder
- Banana powder is used in place of artificial flavoring to flavor just about anything where you want a banana flavor.
- It truly shines in desserts where the moisture balance is very important. In foods where the balance of added fruit may be too much liquid rendering your food too runny to hold their shape, you can add banana powder. Think of things like buttercream frosting or topping for candy or fruity meringue cookies or macarons.
- You can use it in desserts. If you want to flavor your custard or sprinkle on yogurt, banana powder will give you great banana flavor.
- Make a fruity spice rub for meat.
- Throw some in your morning oatmeal when you don’t have fresh fruit on hand.
- Cream pies, banana pudding, and banana sauces can all be made with banana powder.
- Use in banana bread (see recipe below), banana muffins, cookies (see recipe below), or pastries; any baked good where you want to bump up the flavor.
- Banana powder has even been used as binder in the animal feeds.
- Use it when making homemade ice cream/frozen yogurt/sorbet and other frozen desserts (see recipe below).
- Use banana powder to make a healthy banana milkshake (see recipe below).
- Use banana powder in smoothies. Begin by mixing the powder and a bit of milk (or water) into a paste. Then add other fruits such as strawberries and other berries, or even add other fruit powders (diluted with water or milk).
- Excellent for portable baby food. You can rehydrate it for a fruit purée like applesauce.
- Ideal for dry mix preparations, powdered drinks, cake mixes, etc.
- Use in puddings and as a dessert topper.
- Sprinkle on cereal, porridge, oatmeal and granola.
- A healthier replacement for industrial sweeteners, with the benefit of more nutrients & natural energy. Use in baking and swap out 10-20% of the sugar in a recipe.
- Use as a super dip for fruit platters.
- 1 to 2 tablespoons a day are a terrific way to keep your digestive tract on path.
- For campers and backpackers, no pre-soaking required. Just take a spoonful out of the bag and throw it into your smoothie, oatmeal, or if you are a FlatCat Gear dry baker this would make one really awesome backcountry banana bread or banana pancakes.
Banana Peel Powder
- Use as a natural fertilizer for your garden.
- Use as a skin moisturizer.
- Use in foods and teas (see recipe below) to add potassium and other nutrients. Banana peels do not add banana flavor as much as the wonderful nutrients within them. Use a light hand as it can get bitter if too much is used.
Approximate Measuring Equivalents
- 3 medium or 4 small bananas = 1 pound
- 1-1/3 cups mashed bananas = 1 pound purée
- 4-1/2 cups sliced, dried bananas = 1 pound
- 1 medium banana = 2/3 cup sliced banana
- 2 medium bananas = 1 cup diced banana
- 3 medium bananas = 1 cup mashed banana
- 16 medium bananas = 4 ounces banana powder
- 4 ounces banana powder = 1 cup banana powder
- 1-1/2 tablespoons banana powder = about 1 medium banana
- 1/3 cup banana powder + 2/3 cup warm water = 1 cup banana purée
- The powder reconstituted 1:3 with water is used in the same traditional way as fresh mashed bananas
What Bananas Can You Use?
The common yellow Cavendish banana is the variety we are all most used to seeing in the stores. Make sure you dry ripe bananas. The skins should be freckled with brown spots (not confused with bruises). If the banana flesh has bruises on it, cut those out before slicing. Not only are ripe bananas sweeter in flavor, they are easier to digest.
Overly ripe bananas that show no mold or disease is puréed and used for banana powder. Frozen bananas in this state can also be used. Never be afraid to ask the produce workers if they have any overly ripe bananas that are marked down. You can get some great deals to make your banana powders.
Red Bananas are a variety of banana with reddish-purple skin. They are smaller and more plump than the common yellow Cavendish banana. When ripe, raw red bananas have a flesh that is cream-to-light pink in color. They are softer and sweeter than the yellow varieties with a slight raspberry-banana flavor. The redder the fruit, the higher the carotene and vitamin C levels.
Banana Peels: Banana peel powder is a great product for your garden. The Rose Bushes will love this stuff! A lot of the fertilizers you buy are potassium rich and banana peels work wonderfully to replace these. Mix them in the soil before you plant your tomato plants and they will flourish. Aphids hate banana peels, so it also acts as a deterrent to them.
Banana peel powder is good for making a paste and applying to dry skin or acne. The oils in the bananas are wonderful for the skin.
Banana peels are edible. Dried and ground to add to tea or food is a good source of potassium and tryptophan which helps with sleep and relaxation. For those that have muscle cramps and spasms, a nighttime tea of banana peels can help. I drink a tea I make from banana peel powder (see recipe below).
Ripe Fresh Bananas
- Wash bananas well, soaking in a vinegar solution or produce solution for 15 minutes. It helps to scrub the skins after soaking with some baking soda to remove as much debris as possible from the skins themselves since you will probably be using this part as well. Rinse thoroughly and allow to dry.
- Peel the bananas and cut them in:
– long slices (spears, about 4 per banana),
– round slices (chips),
– or small chunks (Slice the banana length-wise into 4’s, then dice)
about 1/4 inch thick. A mandolin slicer, egg slicer, or Vidalia chopper will easily cut your slices or chunks.
- Proceed to dehydrating the bananas.
Frozen & Overripe Bananas
- If the overripe bananas still have peels, wash bananas well, soaking in a vinegar solution or produce solution for 15 minutes. It helps to scrub the skins after soaking with some baking soda to remove as much debris as possible from the skins themselves since you will probably be using this part as well. Rinse thoroughly and allow to dry.
- Slice into chunks.
- If the overripe bananas have been frozen, thaw completely before processing.
- In a food processor, blender, potato masher, or food mill, throw in a few chunks at a time. Pulse or mash the banana pulp until it’s totally smooth.
- Proceed to dehydrating the purée.
- Cut into 2” slices.
- Proceed to dehydrating the peels.
- For banana slices/chunks, use a mesh insert on dehydrator drying racks.
– For puréed bananas, place on solid sheets on dehydrator drying racks.
– For peels, place on dehydrator racks. There is no need for any sheets or inserts.
- Mist banana slices/chunks on all sides with bottled lemon juice.
– Or mix 2 tablespoons of citric acid to 2 cups of cold water and spray fruit.
– Or mix 1-1/2 teaspoons crystalline ascorbic acid (vitamin C tablets) for each cup of water, dissolving thoroughly. Spray fruit.
– Other methods are found here.
- Set dehydrator at 125°F/50°C for about 30-48 hours or until crispy dry. Peels are dry by the time the bananas are dry.
- Check the level of dryness during the dehydrating process and move the trays around so everything dries as evenly as possible if needed.
- When the bananas are dry they are crispy. Make sure all fruit is completely dry. If there’s any moisture left in them, the powder will be clumpy and it will quickly become moldy.
Note: The thicker your purée is the longer it will take to dehydrate. I pour 1-1/2 cups on the Nesco-type trays or 2 cups on the Excalibur-type trays.
Grinding Banana Powder
Tip: Grind your banana pulp/slices/chunks first, then your banana peels/ Keep them in separate storage containers as they are used for different things (see “Uses for Banana Powder”).
- Freeze the dehydrated fruit overnight. This helps to give cleaner grinding and helps control clumping.
- Tear or cut the leathers/spears into small pieces with kitchen shears. Grind into a powder with a mortar and pestle, coffee grinder, or high-powered blender like a Vitamix, Blendtec, or NutriBullet.
- Be sure to seal the lid well if using grinder or blender. Make sure the dust has settled inside the grinder before removing the lid when finished powdering.
- Because banana peel is fibrous, break it up first and pulse your machine for several minutes until you no longer hear pieces clicking around inside the canister.
- If you still have pieces within the powder, sift these out and re-grind.
- If it does not grind to a powder and you experience clumping, the pieces are not dry enough (see Note). Put the powder back into the dehydrator and dry at the same temperature for another hour or so. Re-grind if necessary.
- Store it in a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid. As long as the powder is stored properly, it will last 6 months to 1 year.
Note: Many dehydrated fruits are somewhat sticky after grinding, due to the sugar content. Make sure your fruit is dried very well. Even when you are using a well-dried batch of fruit, the stickiness is simply innate in the fruit. You can add 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of arrowroot powder (a healthy starch, like cornstarch) to each batch of fruit before grinding, and it will lessen clumping. Just dump your arrowroot into the grinder along with your dehydrated fruit.
Banana Oatmeal Cookies
Makes 3 dozen
2 cups Master Cookie Mix
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons banana powder
2 eggs, slightly beaten
3 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup raisins (optional)
- In a small bowl, mix together eggs, water, and vanilla.
- In a large bowl, combine Master Cookie Mix, brown sugar, baking soda, and banana powder.
- Stir in egg mixture.
- Stir in oatmeal and raisins and mix well.
- Drop by the teaspoonful on lightly greased baking sheet.
- Bake at 350°F/175°C for 10 minutes.
- Cool on a cookie rack.
To make this vegan, you can substitute 2 tablespoons Whole Chia seeds and 6 tablespoons water. Stir chia and water in a bowl and let sit for 20-30 minutes. Stir in water and vanilla and continue with recipe step #2.
This recipe uses our Master Cookie Mix Recipe.
Banana Ice Cream
This creamy desert is dairy free, gluten-free, and vegan friendly.
4 tablespoons banana powder
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons coconut sugar
1 cup soya milk
1 cup rice milk
1/2 teaspoon arrowroot powder or 1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Directions for Ice Cream Maker
- Combine all ingredients in a large jug. Whisk together to make sure that the powder and arrowroot powder (or xanthan gum) are thoroughly mixed.
- Pour the mixture into an ice cream maker and churn for 10-15 minutes until you have a thick creamy consistency.
- Pour ice cream into a container and leave in the freezer for at least 5 hours.
Directions for Freezer Ice Cream
- Combine all ingredients in a large jug. Whisk together to make sure that the powder and xanthan gum are thoroughly mixed.
- Pop it in the freezer for an hour. Place a piece of grease-proof paper on the top to prevent ice crystals from forming.
- Remove from the freezer, whisk again and place back into the freezer for a further two hours. (If you have time, you can repeat this for a third time).
Variation: Simply swap the banana powder for another fruit flavor to make your favorite ice cream flavor,
Colleen’s Nighttime Tea
This tea helps me with leg cramps, muscle spasms, and sleep. I feel the potassium in the peels, along with the tryptophan, allows me to relax a fall asleep and I do not awake at night with leg cramps from my restless leg syndrome.
1 teaspoon banana peel powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch stevia powder
1-1/2 cups boiling water
- Mix powders in a large mug. Add boiling water and stir.
- Let stand covered for 5 minutes. I drink this an hour before bed.
Banana Walnut Bread
3/4 cup banana powder
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup walnut pieces (optional)
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs, beaten
- Preheat oven to 350°F/175°C. Lightly grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan.
- Pour banana powder into a Pyrex 4-cup measure. Fill with water to reach 2-1/3 cups. Mix thoroughly with a fork until well blended. Allow to cool and thicken.
- In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt, and walnuts (if using).
- In a separate bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar. Stir in eggs and banana purée until well blended.
- Stir banana mixture into flour mixture; mixing just to moisten. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan.
- Bake in preheated oven for 60 to 65 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of the loaf comes out clean.
- Let bread cool in pan for 10 minutes. Turn out on a wire rack to finish cooling.
1-1/2 cups milk (or almond, coconut, rice, or soy milk)
2 tablespoons banana powder
Sweetener to taste (optional)
Add banana powder to milk and mix thoroughly. Sweeten to taste.
Add 3 tablespoons powdered chocolate drink mix (such as Ovaltine®).
Try other fruit powders or some interesting combinations like strawberry-banana or orange-berry.
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