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17th March 2023

Let’s cook sustainably

An ap-peeling bunch of methods and recipes that will prevent your bananas from going to waste!
Let’s cook sustainably
Photo: Olena Sergienko @ Unsplash

With approximately one-third of all food produced going to waste, we have a major environmental and humanitarian issue on our hands. Food waste contributes to climate change due to the greenhouse gases produced as a result of food production, transportation, and food rot. Making simple changes to the ways we approach food can have a hugely positive effect on our carbon footprints. 

Inspired by vegan and low-waste chef, Max La Manna, I wanted to share a few simple tricks that will ensure that you’re making the most out of what you buy. Plus, what could be better to start with than the most wasted fruit…. bananas!

When the daunting brown freckles begin to emerge on your bunch of bananas, everyone’s immediate go-to recipe is banana bread. Who can blame them? It’s easy to make and mouth-wateringly good.  

But if you lack the ingredients, the time-  or you’re simply bored of banana bread – here are five ways that you can ensure your bananas are being used sustainably.

Store them correctly: 

  • If you buy unripe bananas, place them at room temperature so that they are able to sweeten.
  • Once ripened, either place them in your fridge and consume over the next few days or place them in your freezer if you want to save them for a later date. 
  • To freeze them correctly, peel the bananas and cut them into chunks. Afterwards, place them in a zip lock bag or plastic container.

Makes a nice cream:

With your frozen bananas, you can make a vegan version of ice cream that saves you running to the store for some at 10pm.

  • An easy recipe includes: blending five bananas with one to two tablespoons of cocoa (or cacao powder) in a food processor and then adding toppings of your choice – such as berries, grated chocolate, or coconut flakes.

Get snacking:

Nourishing and easy to make, banana chips are a handy snack to keep you going during a long day on campus!

  • Slice your bananas into thin rounds and place them on a lined baking tray. Brush them with lemon juice and sprinkle them with ginger and cinnamon.
  • Bake them for approximately 90 minutes, and then flip them over and bake for a further hour. Once they are dark golden, take them out of the oven and leave them to cool.

Banana pancakes:

This is one of my favourite breakfasts to make on a lazy Sunday; with only three ingredients, these pancakes are super affordable, easy to make, and insanely tasty!

  • For one serving, mash one ripe banana in a bowl, then add one egg and two tbsp of self-raising flour. Set this aside for five minutes. 
  • Add oil to your pan and heat it up, then add 2 tbsp batter to your pan, and cook for one to two minutes.
  • Turn over to the other side and cook until golden. Then add whatever toppings you fancy! 

Don’t waste the peel!

Not only can banana peel be puréed for baking, or used in smoothies, but their nutritional value makes them extremely beneficial for your skin, teeth, and hair. 

  • Cut the peel into smaller pieces so that it will fit under your eyes. Place them on your under-eye for 15-30 minutes, and then rinse with your cleanser. Loaded with vitamins, bananas help to moisturise the skin and prevent ageing. 
  • Banana peels can also be used to nourish and strengthen your hair. One way of achieving this is by rubbing your hair with the inside of the peels (an easy but unpleasant method). Or you could save £15 at the Body Shop and make a homemade banana hair mask by blending up your peels!

There are hundreds of low-waste recipes online, and on social media, with chefs like Max La Manna (Instagram: @maxlamanna) offering simple, appetising dishes. Beneficial to your bills, your bodies, and your world; sustainable cooking is the future.  

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