There is a current foodie movement to use an entire fruit or vegetable and leave no waste, using the skin, green tops or whatever.
Tiktok, apparently the latest venue for unique recipes, has a trending video on making "pulled pork" out of banana peels. And The Washington Post recently featured a recipe for Don't Peel Your Banana Bread, which I ran across and rejected with a "Yuck!"
So, when a friend, and a reader of my column, told me about making bacon from banana peels, it really didn't surprise me. He sent me an email with the link to the blog it was featured on and added, "I have not tried this, but will sometime. I hear it’s a nice substitute and keeper recipe."
Fake bacon? Blasphemy! But I was intrigued enough to give it a try — especially after the blogger, Sam Turnbull, began by saying: "A vegan bacon recipe made from the banana peels that you would otherwise toss away. Am I crazy? Maybe a little. Does it taste good? Yes, it does. It really, really does!" and "Crispy, chewy, smoky, salty, slightly sweet, and has a subtle hint of banana taste which is actually quite delicious!"
I went to the supermarket and purchased some really ripe bananas as the recipe suggested. I peeled two bananas, making a peanut butter and banana sandwich with the fruit and putting aside the peels, which I had, as directed, peeled off the bananas in four strips. Scraping the pith off the peels was tricker that the recipe implied. I tore the first strip several times, rendering it useless. Gentle is the clue word ...
The marinating part was a breeze, although I briefly wondered if liquid smoke would be better than the smoked paprika. Then came the frying part ... I used the recommended medium heat — and burned the "bacon." It is going to take a miracle to get the smell of burned banana peels out of the house. I used low heat for the next attempt, and low-and-slow helped me avoid burning them.
The result? Not a keeper in my book. Despite using really ripe bananas, there was a bitter after taste, and they were more chewy than crispy, but then I like my bacon cooked so it falls apart when touched. And there was a faint but definite banana taste ...
If anyone has tried this, let me know your thoughts. As for me, I'll stick to the real thing!
BANANA PEEL BACON
(Courtesy Sam Turnbull, itdoesnttastelikechicken.com)
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 6 mins
Servings: 8 strips
2 very ripe banana peels, (from 2 bananas, see directions)*
3 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon light oil (or more if needed)
The number one most important step is to use bananas that are very ripe.
To prepare the banana peels: remove the peels from the bananas and tear into about 4 strips per banana. Use a spoon to lightly scrape off the white inside part of the banana peel leaving just the peel.
Make the marinade by mixing the soy sauce, maple syrup, smoked paprika, and garlic powder together in a dish that will fit your banana peels. Add the banana peels and toss to coat. Let marinate for a minimum of 10 minutes, but as long as a few hours.
When ready to cook the bacon, heat the oil in a large skillet or frying pan over medium heat. When hot add the peels and fry a couple of minutes per side, until they are golden and bubble up a little. It may get a little smoky as the sugars will burn so make sure to turn on your hood fan. Remove from pan and drain on paper towel. They should get crispier as they cool.