Get ready for a yummy banana peel recipe. Banana peel carnitas are spiced with delicious herbs, spices, and citrus. Tasty and easy to make, carnitas are perfect in tacos, burrito bowls, or taco salads. This recipe will make you rethink banana peels forever!
Can you eat banana peels?
Yep. I wouldn’t be writing this blog post if you couldn’t. Before you think I’m totally insane for creating a banana peel recipe, let me just say, I was completely skeptical too. I actually created this recipe as part of a personal challenge I was undertaking for Earth Day 2021 (watch the video below). I’d seen banana peel recipes on Instagram, and was not at all interested. But knowing that food waste is just plain bad for Mother Earth, and a third of food available in the United States goes to waste––not including waste products like banana peels––I knew I had to give it a go.
It doesn’t taste like banana
Banana peels don’t taste like banana, they don’t taste much like anything, but they do have a chewy slightly meaty texture when cooked.
Eating banana peels is by no means a new trend. Actually, cultures around the world have eaten the banana peel for generations in everything from chutneys to curries to a Brazilan “meat” called casca louca de banana.
Now that I’ve eaten banana peels, I’m annoyed that I wasted the peel for all these years. Banana peels are an edible part of the fruit that we waste. And with every banana peel that is thrown into the garbage or compost, we’re wasting nutrients and money.
If you’re not ready to eat the banana peel, check out my list of other ways to use this valuable food “scrap, below.
Why you should eat banana peels
- Save valuable produce from ending up in the landfill
- They’re nutritious
- Can be used in many recipes and cuisine types, sweet and savory
- Prepared well, are delicious and have a nice, almost meaty texture
- A budget friendly meat substitute
Banana peel nutrition
Banana peels, like the skins of many fruits, are very nutrient dense. They contain additional fiber, potassium, and other vitamins and minerals like vitamin C and magnesium. Bananas and banana peels also contain tryptophan which may help improve your mood.
Bananas are sprayed with pesticides, so be sure to wash the fruit well with a mild natural soap and water before consuming. You can also buy organic bananas, though you should wash those too.
Bananas peels are difficult to eat raw, slightly bitter, and contain a latex on the inside of the peel. When you cook banana peels you soften the skin and remove the bitterness.
If you have a latex allergy, banana skins may not be for you.
How do you prepare a banana peel?
As you see in my video, there is a little preparation required before cooking the banana peel. If you’re making a smoothie or banana bread, you can blend the banana whole, without any preparation––aside from removing the tough ends.
If you are using banana peels in a recipe, you should use a spoon to scrape out the inner flesh stuck to the skin.
For this banana peel carnitas recipe, I use a fork to shred the peel. This takes a little time, but it’s quite easy.
What else can you do with banana peels?
Before we get to my carnitas recipe, I’d like to lay out a few other ways you can use banana peels. Leave a comment below to let me know if you’ve tried any of these!
- Add to smoothie
- Add to banana bread. Blend the whole ripe banana (cut off hard ends), and add to recipe like you normally would.
- Fertilize your plants with minced banana peel––bury in the soil of outdoor plants––or banana peel water––soak banana peels in water overnight and use.
- Rub the inner part of the peel on your skin to stop itching, lighten scars, and treat acne
- Whiten your teeth by rubbing the inner part of the peel on your teeth daily
- Candied with sugar
- Add to homemade granola
Notes on this banana peel recipe
Use yellow bananas that are not fully ripened for this recipe. There should be a little bit of green at the ends, but the whole banana should not be green.
You have to open 4-6 bananas to make this carnitas banana peel recipe. Freeze the flesh or use it to bake something right away. Frozen bananas are great for adding to smoothies, or making Banana Nice Cream.
The flesh scraped off of the banana peel can be added to a smoothie or oatmeal. Just be sure to use it right away, because it will oxidize and turn dark grey/brown.
Accumulated banana peels can stay fresh in the fridge for about 24 hours before oxidizing too much, and becoming difficult to shred.
Banana Peel Carnitas
Use yellow bananas with green-ish tips for this recipe. Overripe bananas are not a good option. Save those for banana bread (yes, you can add the skin).
- 6 banana peels
- 2 tbsp grapeseed oil
- 1/2 yellow onion diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 jalapeño pepper seeded & minced
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup orange juice from 1 fresh orange
- 1-2 tbsp fresh lime juice
- 1 tbsp soy sauce or liquid aminos
Remove both ends––the stem and the bottom–– from the banana.
Use a spoon to scoop the fibrous flesh from the inner part of each banana peel.
Use a fork to shred the peel into long strips.
Warm a large pot over medium heat, and add oil. Once the oil is warm add the onions, garlic, and jalapeño pepper. Sauté until onions are soft.
Add the banana peel, followed by the oregano, cumin, sea salt, and pepper. Stir well.
Squeeze the orange into the pot (being careful to catch any seeds), along with soy sauce then stir again.
Bring to a simmer on medium-low heat, and cover the pot. Cook for about 30 minutes, or until the banana peels are tender and tasty. Season to taste with more soy sauce or sea salt if needed.