Bananas are the top-selling fruit in the United States and are the popular fruit in the world (taking tomatoes out of the “fruit” category). That means banana peels are one of the most common bits of organic refuse we come across.

It goes without saying that buying organic bananas—hardly a price jump these days—is a wise decision. Banana plantations are notoriously wrought with pesticides and dangerous chemicals, most of which are transported to the kitchen via peels. Organic bananas, then, are just a no-brainer, and fair-trade organic bananas are an even more responsible choice.

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Of course, composting these peels is a much more constructive way of dealing with them than tossing them in a trash can. But, this hardly taps into the usefulness of organic banana peels. They have a bigger role to play in the garden. They have medicinal uses, particularly for skin ailments. And, they are edible as well.

Plant Food

Banana peels are packed with vitamins and minerals that can help young plants as they grow towards maturity. Sections of the banana peel can be wrapped around plant starts as they are put in the ground. As the roots find their way through the soil, they’ll soak up these nutrients and get an extra, organic, all-natural boost.

Liquid Fertilizer

Banana peels can also be used to create liquid fertilizer for foliar sprays. Much like making compost tea, the peels can be soaked in a bucket of water overnight. Nutrients will infuse the water, and this can be infused water can be let down a bit with fresh water the next time the house plants or container garden is being watered.

Itches & Rashes

Like many fresh foods and fruits, banana peels have anti-inflammatory and antiseptic qualities that make them effective for treating itches, bug bites, and rashes. In addition, banana peels have cooling and soothing qualities that will temporarily take away some of the discomforts felt when dealing with these issues. The trick is to turn the inside portion of the peel into a sort of paste and apply it.

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Skin Treatment

Besides first aid, banana peels are used for various other skin maladies, such as puffy eyes and face moisturizing. Again, using the inside of the peel, apply them to the affected areas to reduce puffiness, brighten skin and reduce wrinkles. They can also help with acne scars, psoriasis, and warts. Lots of foods—banana peels included—can help with keeping skin tiptop.

Polish Silver

Household cleaning products can carry a slew of carcinogenic and otherwise unsavory chemicals, so it’s always a good idea to use natural options when possible, particularly for things that come into contact with food. Banana peels can be rubbed on silverware and other silver items. Stick the banana peels in a blender and whiz them up until they create a smooth paste. That’s a natural metal polish.

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Banana Vinegar

Specialty vinegars are a lot of fun to make, and lots of fruit peels can be used to do it, including bananas. With just banana peels, a couple of bananas, sugar, water, and time, magic can happen. The ingredients sit in a glass jar or container for about a month. Then, strain out the solid ingredients, and voila! It has a nice sour, sweet flavor.

People Food

Contrary to popular belief, banana peels are not poisonous and are, in fact, a good source of nutrients like potassium, dietary fiber, and amino acids, not to mention anti-oxidants. Of course, they don’t seem all that appetizing, so instead of just chowing down, they can be chopped up and added to smoothies, used to make banana tea, or blended into a chutney. Bananas with green skins can be grated whole to make fantastic veggie burgers. Banana skin bacon is a thing, too.

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Who knew banana peels were even more impressive than being a natural snack wrapper! The plants love them. The silverware will be shimmering like new. They even taste good. While it might feel a bit silly to put banana peels on your face, who’s watching anyway? Make the most of those banana peels before tossing them in the compost.

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