After you eat your banana, grab the peel and rub it all over your arm, and after you’re done doing that, go ahead and throw it in your compost or make some vinegar out of it. Bananas are a healthy fruit with a uniquely filling quality, but their benefits don’t just stop in its nutritional value. The peel has plenty of unusual uses for the environment and your body.

The educational outreach and environmental advocacy group Sustainable America created an all-encompassing infographic to help banana lovers and newbies everywhere reap the many benefits bananas and their peels have in store for us. Their goal is committed to cutting food waste in the United States in half by 2035. Currently, 40 percent of our food is wasted or rotted and never consumed.

Banana Peels, Sustainable America
Banana Peels, Sustainable America Banana Peels, Sustainable America

Bananas were first found in New Guinea and spread throughout the Philippines nearly 4,000 years ago, and from their diversified around the world. They became a popular item in India, Indonesia, Australia, and Malaysia and were even used to make clothes and other fabrics in Japan. It wasn’t until they hit colonial plantations in America that they were used for intercropping plants such as coffee, cacao, and pepper plantations. Their leaves provided the perfect shade for the more valuable plants, which was only the beginning of their endless environmental uses and health benefits.

Bananas are rich in vitamin B6, manganese, vitamin C, fiber, potassium, biotin, and copper. They have the power to prevent high blood pressure and protect against atherosclerosis. As a very low-fat food, it can also help keep blood cholesterol levels at healthy safe balances, according to the George Mateljan Foundation, a non-profit health organization.

Their high levels of tryptophan convert into serotonin and help people overcome depression. Their iron levels relieve anemia and have the power to counteract calcium loss and enable bone strengthening. They’re also a natural antacid and can provide relief from acid reflux, heart burn, and can restore electrolytes lost after dehydration from diarrhea, according to Food Matters.

To this day, we eat 3.2 billion pounds of bananas each year, which is about 304 bananas every second of the day. Instead of throwing the 780 million pounds of peels into the landfills and wasting their potential benefits, try out some of these uses for your lifestyle.

10 Useful And Unusual Ways To Protect The Peel From Waste:

1. Fertilize Tomato Plants

Wrap a banana peel around your tomato seedlings when you first plant them. As the tomato plant grows, it will absorb the nutrients from the peel throughout the season.

2. Feed Indoor Plants

Stick a banana peel in a large jar of water in a one part banana to five parts water ratio and after it’s soaked the nutrients out of the peel, fertilize your indoor plants with the health-enhanced water.

3. Use In Compost

If you leave a banana peel on the counter, you’ll notice they usually break down faster than your other fruits, which is exactly why you should toss them into your compost. They’ll add plenty of nutrients into the soil for vegetable and flower gardens.

4. Relieve Rashes and Itches

If you’ve got a bug bite, poison ivy rashes, psoriasis patches, you can take your banana peels and rub them into your skin. If you experience burning, which psoriasis often causes, or itching from allergic reactions and bug bites, place the banana peel into the fridge until it becomes cool. Place the chilled peel onto your skin for instant relief.

5. Feed Animals

Throw your banana peel into a blender or chop it up and mix it into feed for chickens, pigs, rabbits, and other livestock. On a regular basis, it’s not ideal for domesticated pets’ digestive systems, such as cats and dogs, but the occasional banana chunk is a great way to get in essential vitamins.

6. Make Banana Vinegar

Banana peels have a bitter flavor with an underlying sugary taste to them, which is what makes it a great source for home-made vinegar to use for salads, or any recipe that calls for vinegar. Place 2 pounds of sliced-up banana peels into 4 cups of water and bring it to a boil. Remove peels from the pot and squeeze their juices into the pot using a cheesecloth or similar material.

Add four more cups of water with a cup and a half of sugar and bring it to a boil. Drop the temperature and stir for 15 minutes. Grab a canning jar and pool the liquid in along with one half teaspoon of baker’s yeast, and screw the lid onto it and place it in a cool place for seven days. Open the jar and filter out and remove any sediment, then add one cup of vinegar and leave it for four weeks.

Then it’s ready to be thrown in a pot over heat for 10 minutes of pasteurization. Wash the jar thoroughly and place contents back into the jar in a dark cool place until you’re ready to use it. The entire process takes two months, but it’s natural and completely resourceful.

7. Tenderize Meat

Take a ripe banana peel and cover your boneless, skinless cuts of meat in order to keep it from toughening or drying out during baking or even frying.

8. Eat the Peel

If you want to eat a banana peel for an extra boost of nutrients, fiber, and antioxidants, make sure to boil the peel for 10 minutes. Then toss the peel into your juicer or blender with other fruits in order to mask any bitterness. Always make sure to clean and remove any pesticides from the peel, which goes the same for any fruit you eat.

9. Attract Butterflies and Birds

By placing your peels on a raised platform, such as a birdhouse or tree branch, butterflies and birds will be attracted to the sweetness of the peel. However, it’s important to note bees and wasps also like the peel’s sweet contents, so it’s best to keep it away from your house or children.

10. Polish Leather and Silver

Rub the inside of your banana peel onto your leather shoes, jackets, or even furniture and then buff it with strokes from a soft cloth. Also mix the peel with water to use it as a silver shiner and cleaner.