Instead of Throwing Your Banana Peel Away, Use It to Make “Bacon” (Yes, Really)
For sustainability-minded cooks and eaters, replacing meat products with plant-based foods is always a priority, as is reducing food waste. This week, food blogger and personal chef Charles W. Hunter III, known as the Salted Table, combined the two with his recipe for bacon made from banana peels, which has been going wild all over Twitter and Instagram.
The recipe, he explains in his thread, uses a flavor-packed smoky marinade that includes soy sauce, Worcestershire, and liquid smoke, among other things. After a stint in the fridge to let the flavors seep in, he starts cooking the banana peels in a cold pan so the sugars don’t burn, flipping them often to control the caramelization. The result is a deep brown, crunchy bacon-shaped vegan substitute for bacon (just make sure to grab vegan Worcestershire!).
Charles was inspired to make the banana peel bacon after he watched Tabitha Brown’s video making a similar product. She wasn’t thrilled with the outcome, and he felt like he could make a version that did taste good — and that would please his vegetarian wife, and work for his vegan and vegetarian clients.
But he’s careful to clarify in both the thread and an email conversation, “in no way does this taste like bacon.” It’s designed to look like bacon, to impart the smokiness that gives it a “nice bacon accent,” and to act like bacon when, say, crumbled on a vegan maple doughnut or put into a vegan BLT. Asked to describe the flavor, he says, “Upon first bite, the warmth of spices hits you, and then, the fragrance of the liquid smoke dances on your palate, followed by a little sweetness from the caramelized sugar, and then some bitter notes, and a vague banana flavor that finishes on the end.”
One big difference between the banana peel version and actual bacon is that bit of bitterness, which is why he only recommends using the peel of ripe bananas — they’re sweeter than unripe or green banana peels, and are the key to making the recipe work.
Get the recipe: Banana Peel Bacon from Charles W. Hunter III (Twitter)