Discovering Banana Flour

Few things make us happier than discovering new foods, especially those that got their start as an alternative to food waste. Banana flour is one of those foods.

Until last week, we had never even heard of banana flour. When we were shopping for flax seeds, the bright bag caught my eye and I made a mental note to research banana flour at some later time. But before I had a chance to do that, Angie happened upon a clearance aisle while we were working an Easy Shift and there it was…banana flour…for $1 a bag. We bought all 3 of the remaining 2-pound bags.

What is banana flour?

Banana flour is a gluten-free alternative to wheat flour. It’s made from one ingredient – green unripe bananas that are dried and milled.

What does it taste like?

There’s no need to worry about that artificial banana taste that comes with most products containing bananas (or banana flavoring). Though there’s a slight hint of the fruit, banana flour simply tastes like flour and it cooks like flour. The texture is also pretty smooth. The pancakes we made were light and fluffy, with no graininess or grit.

Why is it good for you?

Besides being all-natural, gluten-free, and just plain tasty, banana flour is a resistant starch, which basically means that it is a fiber that resists being digested in the body. Because it can’t be digested, resistant starches ferment in the large intestine, creating a beneficial fatty acid called butyrate. In a nutshell, butyrate helps fight inflammation and prevent colon cancer.

The best part of banana flour (for us, at least), is how it is made. Bananas are shipped to the supermarket while they are still green so that they can be at peak ripeness when we buy them. Like so many other fruits and vegetables, a good many green bananas just don’t make the cut. They are too small, too large, too misshapen, or too damaged to be considered suitable for sale. However, these imperfect bananas are perfect for making banana flour. Using ugly green bananas for banana flour reduces food waste and has a positive environmental impact. That fact alone made it tops in our book!

But you should really try it for yourself…

Banana Flour Pancakes

  • 1/2 cup banana flour
  • 1/2 cup almond milk (or other nut milk or milk alternative)
  • 2 eggs (or egg alternative)
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp olive or avocado oil

We cooked our pancakes on a griddle at 400 degrees (using coconut oil cooking spray to keep them from sticking). Watch for them to bubble on one side, flip them to brown on the other side, and enjoy! This recipe makes eight (8) 4-inch pancakes.

For further reading, here’s a cool article about a farm in Australia that “accidentally” discovered new ways to utilize their waste bananas – including making banana flour:

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