Frugal Foodie: When Life Gives You Bananas; Make Pancakes

For every gorgeous bowl of fruit decorating your kitchen counter, its overripe cousin likely got thrown in the trash.

In fact, some basic Google-fu taught me that “Every year, consumers in industrialized countries waste almost as much food as the entire net food production of sub-Saharan Africa (222 million vs. 230 million tons).” http://www.worldfooddayusa.org/food_waste_the_facts In fact, “in the USA, 30-40% of the food supply is wasted, equaling more than 20 pounds of food per person per month.”

Yikes!

Man in Gray Suit Jacket Holding Yellow Banana Fruit While Making Face
That banana is definitely pointing at me. *Guilty much?*

I really can’t judge. I have been just as bad a food waster as anyone. Sometimes I am too slow to get around to cooking something in my refrigerator. Other times, I’m too lazy to look up a recipe to make something yummy from ugly or overripe fruit/vegetables. While I haven’t been blind to this failing, the knowledge unfortunately has not spurred me to action.

It took our frugal lifestyle to make a dent in my apathy.

Suddenly, those overripe bananas that stared at me from the kitchen counter were not just ugly, but were a testament to my failure at frugality. To throw them away – and literally ditch the guilt – would be easy. But it would not spare me the guilt of literally throwing money away. Somehow food waste didn’t bug me as much as wasting money through food waste.

That’s likely a poor reflection on my character, but I figure if I do the right thing for a self-interested reason, it’s still the right thing.

Anywho, it is a situation that I found myself in this evening. After guiltily averting my eyes from a bowl full of overripe bananas for about a week, I realized that they were on the verge of going to the Happy Hunting Grounds. So, breakfast for dinner it was. Here’s the delicious (eggless) pancake recipe that came to my rescue: http://www.food.com/recipe/banana-pancakes-eggless-14130

And as I munched happily away on my previously ugly and gooey, but now deliciously re-purposed bananas, I began to think of all the fruits and vegetables that I have wronged in the past. Surely there must be go-to ways to resuscitate them. Well, it is the internet to the rescue (as always). Here are a few ideas for ways to revive overripe fruits and vegetables:

Muffins and Breads

“Over ripe fruit lends itself very well to making muffins and breads. One of the most classic over ripe fruit recipes is banana nut bread. Old bananas are mashed up to create this delicious bread. You can do the same type of thing with browning apples, mushy peaches, plums, or pears, and soggy berries. You can find a multitude of recipes for fruit breads and muffins for which over ripe fruits are perfect.” http://wetbin.com/frugal-kitchen-save-money-with-over-ripe-fruit/ This article has some great advice on ways to use over ripe fruit.

Loaf Bread on Brown Wooden Tabletop

If you’re like me and you’re too impatient to wait for banana bread, here a scone recipe that has saved my bananas in the past 🙂 http://www.partial-ingredients.com/archives/4723

Pancakes and Waffles are a personal favorite. Much like the breads mentioned above, fruits can be mushed and added to the batter for extra flavor and nutrition.

Smoothies

So easy to whip together in a hurry.  “Smoothies are always a good standby for using up fruit! It doesn’t matter how pretty they are as long as they still taste good. I even find that the concentrated flavor of over-ripe fruit makes especially tasty smoothies.” http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-use-up-overripe-fruit-58183

Girl holding yoghurt

I especially liked the Kitchn article (http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-use-up-overripe-fruit-58183 ) as it proposed various other ways to use over ripe ingredients. I, for one, had never even considered making jam or fruit leather. Jam was a surprise because I’m the kind of girl who always assumed jams come from grocery stores. More the fool am I. And frankly I had no idea what food leather was until I encountered it in these articles. Live and learn! I’m definitely going to be experimenting in the Grasshopper kitchen.

As an obvious disclaimer, you should never do this with moldy or rotten fruit.

Tell me what you have done to save a buck by saving a veggie?

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