Don’t Toss Those Overripe Bananas Till You’ve Read This

Bananas are delicious, inexpensive, fun to eat and good for you. But what can you do when bananas turn brown? Never fear. It’s easy to use those overripe bananas in healthy breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks.

You can mash soft bananas and bake them into muffins or quick breads. You can use them in place of jelly in a peanut butter sandwich. You can top old bananas with a scoop of ice cream and chocolate syrup to create a dreamy banana split. You can even put them in the blender to make a nutritious smoothie. Don’t have time to use those overripe bananas now? Just peel them and put them in the freezer. When they come out, they’ll have a texture just like ice cream.

Save the peels, too. You can put them in a pitcher of water to make plant fertilizer. Or just throw them on a compost pile.

Ready to put your overripe bananas to use? Try this easy, healthful breakfast recipe:

Banana Blueberry Oat Pancakes

(makes 5 to 6 pancakes)
Prep and cook time: 20 minutes

The addition of oats, bananas and fresh blueberries boosts nutrition while still keeping these fruit-filled pancakes tasty and appealing to the kids. Prepare using a large nonstick griddle pan and wipe down between batches. For a vegan version, grease the pan with coconut oil instead of butter, and replace the regular milk with a plant-based variation like soy or almond. Feel free to add or sub in raspberries, sliced strawberries, cherries, raisins or your favorite chopped nuts for the blueberries. No oats? You can make them without, but the whole grains boost the nutrition.

2 overripe bananas
mashed 3/4 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
1/2 cup fresh blueberries

In a medium bowl, whisk together the mashed bananas, the milk and the vanilla until well combined.

In another bowl, mix the dry ingredients — flour, oats, baking powder and salt. Pour in the banana-milk mixture and stir together just until combined, then gently fold in the blueberries. Do not over mix.

Warm up a nonstick griddle pan or a large cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Melt a small amount of butter to coat the surface, then ladle in 1/4 to 1/3 cup of the batter and spread gently to create the pancakes. Let cook for 2 or 3 minutes. Once small bubbles start to appear on the surface of the pancake and the edges look dry, flip and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes until golden brown on both sides. Repeat the process until you’ve used up all the batter.

Serve warm with butter, jam, powdered sugar or a drizzle of maple syrup.

For more tasty recipes, cooking tips and suggestions, download Eat Well on $4 a Day, Good and Cheap, a free cookbook by Leanne Brown.