Banana peel

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A banana with peel partly removed (partially "peeled"). The peel is the yellow outer "skin".
Discarded banana peels

A banana peel, called banana skin in British English, is the outer covering of the banana fruit. Banana peels are used as food for animals, an ingredient in cooking, in water purification, for manufacturing of several biochemical products as well as for jokes and comical situations.

A banana peel on the ground.

There are several methods to remove a peel from a banana.


Bananas are a popular fruit consumed worldwide with a yearly production of over 165 million tonnes in 2011. Once the peel is removed, the fruit can be eaten raw or cooked and the peel is generally discarded. Because of this removal of the banana peel, a significant amount of organic waste is generated.[1][2]

Banana peels are sometimes used as feedstock for cattle, goats, pigs, monkeys, poultry, rabbits, fish, zebras and several other species, typically on small farms in regions where bananas are grown.[3][4][5] There are some concerns over the impact of tannins contained in the peels on animals that consume them.[6][7]

The nutritional value of banana peel depends on the stage of maturity and the cultivar; for example plantain peels contain less fibre than dessert banana peels, and lignin content increases with ripening (from 7 to 15% dry matter). On average, banana peels contain 6-9% dry matter of protein and 20-30% fibre (measured as NDF). Green plantain peels contain 40% starch that is transformed into sugars after ripening. Green banana peels contain much less starch (about 15%) when green than plantain peels, while ripe banana peels contain up to 30% free sugars.[6]

Banana peels are also used for water purification,[8] to produce ethanol,[9] cellulase,[10] laccase,[11] as fertilizer[12] and in composting.[13]

Culinary use[edit]

Cooking with banana peel is common place in Southeast Asian, Indian and Venezuelan cuisine where the peel of bananas and plantains is used in recipes.[14] In April 2019, a vegan pulled pork recipe using banana peel by food blogger Melissa Copeland aka The Stingy Vegan went viral.[15] In 2020, The Great British Bake Off winner Nadiya Hussain revealed she uses banana peels as an alternative to pulled pork when making burgers in an effort to reduce food waste.[16] Later that year television chef Nigella Lawson used banana skin as an ingredient for a curry on her BBC show.[17]

In comical context[edit]

Banana peel is also part of the classic physical comedy slapstick visual gag, the "slipping on a banana peel".[18][19] This gag was already seen as classic in 1920s America.[20] It can be traced to the late 19th century, when banana peel waste was considered a public hazard in a number of American towns.[21][22] Although banana peel-slipping jokes date to at least 1854, they became much more popular, beginning in the late-1860s, when the large-scale importation of bananas made them more readily available.[23][unreliable source?] Vaudeville comedian Cal Stewart included banana peel jokes in one of the earliest comedy albums, Uncle Josh in a Department Store in 1903.[24] Before banana peel jokes came into vogue, orange peels, and sometimes peach skins, or fruit peels/peelings/or skins, generally, were funny, as well as dangerous.[23][unreliable source?] Slipping on a banana peel was at one point a real concern with municipal ordinances governing the disposal of the peel.[25]

The coefficient of friction of banana peel on a linoleum surface was measured at just 0.07, about half that of lubricated metal on metal. Researchers attribute this to the crushing of the natural polysaccharide follicular gel, releasing a homogenous sol.[26] This unsurprising finding was awarded the 2014 Ig Nobel Prize for physics.[27]

Peeling methods[edit]

A banana peeled the "monkey way"

Most people peel a banana by cutting or snapping the stem and divide the peel into sections while pulling them away from the bared fruit. Another way of peeling a banana is done in the opposite direction, from the end with the brownish floral residue—a way usually perceived as "upside down".

When the tip of a banana is pinched with two fingers, it will split and the peel comes off in two clean sections. The inner fibres, or "strings", between the fruit and the peel will remain attached to the peel and the stem of the banana can be used as a handle when eating the banana.

Psychoactive effects of banana peels[edit]

There has been a widespread belief that banana peels contain a psychoactive substance, and that smoking them may produce a "high", or a sense of relaxation. This belief, which may be a rumor or urban legend, is often associated with the 1966 song "Mellow Yellow" by Donovan. A recipe for the extraction of the fictional chemical bananadine is found in The Anarchist Cookbook of 1971.


  1. ^ Derived from: "FAOSTAT". Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Archived from the original on 1 April 2013. Retrieved 29 June 2013. The data for bananas and plantains for 2011 were combined as the two are distinguished by some countries but combined under "bananas" by others.
  2. ^ G.M. Babatunde: Availability of banana and plantain products for animal feeding. In: D. Machin, S. Nyvold: Roots, tubers, plantains and bananas in animal feeding. Proceedings of the FAO Expert Consultation held in CIAT, Cali, Colombia FAO ANIMAL PRODUCTION AND HEALTH PAPER 95, FAO, Rome, 1992.
  3. ^ Heuzé V., Tran G., Archimède H., 25 March 2016. Banana peels. Feedipedia, a programme by INRA, CIRAD, AFZ and FAO. Retrieved 24 August 2017.
  4. ^ Hassan, H. F., et al. "Exploring the potentials of banana (musa sapietum) peels in feed formulation." International Journal of Advanced Research in Chemical Science 5.5 (2018): 10-14.
  5. ^ Pereira, Emmanuel Moreira; Filho, Manoel Tolentino Leite; Santos, Yvana Maria Gomes dos; Pereira, Bárbara Bruna Maniçoba; Maracajá, Paticio Borges (8 June 2015). "Elaboração e qualidade de geleia e compota de abacaxi "pérola"". Revista Verde de Agroecologia e Desenvolvimento Sustentável (in Portuguese). 10 (1): 149–153. doi:10.18378/rvads.v10i1.3440. ISSN 1981-8203.
  6. ^ a b Happi Emaga, T. ; Bindelle, J. ; Agneesens, R. ; Buldgen, A. ; Wathelet, B. ; Paquot, M., 2011. Ripening influences banana and plantain peels composition and energy content. Trop. Anim. Health Prod., 43 (1): 171-177
  7. ^ Onwuka, C. F. I. ; Adetiloye, P. O. ; Afolami, C. A., 1997. Use of household wastes and crop residues in small ruminant feeding in Nigeria. Small Rumin. Res., 24: 233-237
  8. ^ A. Chaparadza, JM Hossenlopp: adsorption kinetics, isotherms and thermodynamics of atrazine removal using a banana peel based sorbent. Water Science Technology 65 (5), 2012, pp. 940-947
  9. ^ HS Oberoi, PV Vadlani, L. Saida, S. Bansal, JD Hughes: ethanol production from banana peels using Statistically optimized simultaneous saccharification and fermentation process. Waste Management 31 (7), 2011, pp. 1576–1584
  10. ^ Hai-Yan Sun, Li Juanhua, Pingjuan Zhao, Ming Peng: Banana peel. A novel substrates for cellulase production under solid-state fermentation African Journal of Biotechnology 10 (77), 2011, pp. 1788
  11. ^ V. Vivekanand, P. Dwivedi, N. Pareek, RP Singh: Banana peel: a potential substrates for laccase production by Aspergillus fumigatus VkJ2.4.5 in solid-state fermentation. Applied Biochemistry and Biotechnology 165 (1), 2011, pp. 204-20
  12. ^ "How To Use Banana Peels In Your Garden". FrugalChicken. 5 July 2015. Retrieved 6 July 2015.
  13. ^ F. Kalemelawa, E. Nishihara, T. Endo, Z. Ahmad, R. Yeasmin, MM Tenywa, S. Yamamoto, "An evaluation of aerobic and anaerobic composting of banana peels treated with different inoculum for soil nutrient replenishment", Bioresource Technology 126, 2012 pp. 375-82
  14. ^ Cash, Meredith (29 March 2019). "A vegan food blogger's recipe using banana peel as a pulled 'pork' substitute is dividing the internet, but it's not as uncommon as you might think". Insider. Retrieved 3 February 2021.
  15. ^ Abernethy, Laura (3 April 2019). "We tried the vegan pulled pork made from banana peel - and it was actually good". Metro. Retrieved 3 February 2021.
  16. ^ "Bake Off's Nadiya Hussain makes 'banana peel burgers' – and says they taste like pulled pork". Heart. 4 April 2020. Retrieved 2 February 2021.
  17. ^ Yeates, Cydney (10 November 2020). "Nigella Lawson throws banana skin into curry - and people are concerned". Metro. Retrieved 2 February 2021.
  18. ^ John Rosenberg (11 February 2013). The Healthy Edit: Creative Techniques for Perfecting Your Movie. CRC Press. p. 143. ISBN 978-1-136-04073-3. Retrieved 28 June 2013.
  19. ^ Alan S. Dale (2000). Comedy Is a Man in Trouble: Slapstick in American Movies. U of Minnesota Press. p. 3. ISBN 978-0-8166-3658-7. Retrieved 28 June 2013.
  20. ^ Michael Dahl (1 March 2002). The Everything Kids' Joke Book: Side-Splitting, Rib-Tickling Fun. Adams Media. p. 99. ISBN 978-1-4405-2240-6. Retrieved 28 June 2013.
  21. ^ "How Did Slipping on a Banana Peel Become a Comedy Staple?". Mental Floss. 9 July 2012. Retrieved 28 June 2013.
  22. ^ "Banana Peel Last Night's Garbage". 22 October 2007. Archived from the original on 5 December 2013. Retrieved 28 June 2013.
  23. ^ a b Brown, Peter Jensen (6 December 2014). "A Slippery History of the Banana Peel Gag". Early Sports 'n Pop Culture History Blog. Retrieved 5 January 2015.
  24. ^ Garrison, Laura Turner (9 July 2012). "How Did Slipping on a Banana Peel Become a Comedy Staple?". Mental Floss.
  25. ^ "WAR ON THE BANANA SKIN; Mr. Roosevelt Orders a Prohibitory Ordinance Enforced. MUST KEEP THE SIDEWALKS CLEAN The Market Portions of Hester and Rivington Streets Also to be Kept Clear -- Col. Waring's Complaint". The New York Times. 9 February 1896. Retrieved 9 August 2017.
  26. ^ Kiyoshi Mabuchi; Kensei Tanaka; Daichi Uchijima; Rina Sakai (2012). "Frictional coefficient under banana skin". Tribology Online. 7 (3): 147–151. doi:10.2474/trol.7.147.
  27. ^ "The 2014 Ig Nobel Prize Winners". August 2006.

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