A new study finds that using the right amount of banana peel flour in sugar cookie batter creates a more nutritious cookie that’s still tasty.
Increasingly, an item once considered inedible is being turned into delicious meals. Now researchers have found the banana peels we typically compost or throw away can be processed into nutritious flour.
“The main objective of this study was to convert raw banana peel into a valuable product because it is rich in dietary fiber and antioxidants, which are very beneficial for health,” said study author Faizan Ahmad, assistant professor at Aligarh Muslim University.
The researchers began by blanching the banana skins, and then they dried and ground them into a fine powder. They mixed different amounts of this banana peel flour with butter, skimmed milk powder, powdered sugar, vegetable oil, and wheat flour, to create five different batches of sugar cookies, and baked them.
Ahmad and his team discovered that replacing 15% of wheat flour with banana peel flour produced browner and harder cookies, possibly a result of the increased fiber from the peels. According to researchers, the cookies containing banana peel flour were more healthful, with less fat and protein, higher amounts of phenols, and improved antioxidant levels than those made with only wheat flour.
Ahmad emphasized that the utilization of banana peel in food product formulations could help improve the nutritional quality while also helping prevent various diseases, including cardiovascular diseases, constipation, colon cancer, diabetes, and obesity.
“It can also help in reducing blood sugar levels and cholesterol,” Ahmad added.
A trained panel found that the cookies containing the least banana peel powder (only 7.5%) had the best texture and highest overall acceptability compared to the other four batches. This batch also kept well and tasted the same as the wheat-only versions even after being stored at room temperature for three months.
“Therefore incorporation of banana peel in the formulation of cookies can be used as a good alternative in order to enhance their nutritive value and shelf life,” Ahmad noted. “According to our research, utilization of bananas can be a good alternative in the formulation of bakery products since they are consumed on a large scale,” said Ahmad.
Ahmad pointed out that cookies supplemented with banana peel have improved “functional and nutritional properties” and enhanced shelf life because banana peel is rich in antioxidants and phenols.
“Polyphenols are strong antioxidants which have been researched and shown to improve blood flow and circulation within your body, which can assist in reducing your blood pressure and improve your heart health,” said Amargo Couture, a registered dietician at Staten Island University Hospital in New York.
Emily Feivor, a registered dietician at Long Island Jewish Forest Hills in Queens, part of Northwell Health in New York, said that in non-westernized countries, many chefs and cultures leave the banana peel on in cooking. Feivor said that peels provide a good source of fiber as well as a similar texture that mimics protein and there are many recipes available on the internet that utilize them.
“Those who follow a vegan or vegetarian diet may use the peels as a meat alternative in recipes such as ‘banana peel bacon’ or ‘banana peel carnitas,’”. Recipes as simple as boiled, sprinkled with cinnamon, and eaten with a spoon to a more complex preparation of caramelization to be used as an ice cream topping,”Feivor said.