Editor’s note: The following article is written by a Skinny Mom Resident Mom. The Resident Mom program gives a voice to our readers, allowing moms across the world to contribute content to Skinny Mom.

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More often than not, bananas that show any sort of aging (like brown spotting) are thrown out and replaced with either bright yellow or light green bananas without knowing the benefits you can get from eating them.

And before you throw that freckled banana away, simply know that the brown spots you see are merely signs of the produce moving through the ripening stage. When a banana is first picked, the appearance is firm and has a light green shade to it. While it is being transported to wherever it will be distributed for purchase, the green coloring most often changes to a yellow shade.

fresh bananas at the farmers market

Brown isn’t so bad. The browner the banana, the more likely the natural sugar content has increased dramatically; which is why a lot of times you’ll see bread recipes that will list very ripe (brown, in other words) bananas as an ingredient. Not sure how to use those over-ripe bananas? These uses and recipes are sure to please both your tastebuds and your conscience.

1. Banana bread: The riper the banana, the better. You’ll find that most banana bread recipes call for 3-4 bananas, so make sure your brown banana has brown banana friends.

>> Recipe: Skinny Coconut Chocolate Banana Bread

2. Banana ‘nice’ cream: Bananas are probably the one fruit (or food, for that matter) that can be considered a “one-ingredient ice cream.” By cutting a ripe banana into chunks and freezing it overnight, (or a few hours for you impatient ice cream fans) you can whip up a bowl of banana-flavored ice cream just by tossing it in a blender to process for less than a minute. Want more flavor than just banana? Add a tablespoon of peanut butter, drizzle some hot fudge chocolate and garnish with nuts and a cherry for a more “banana split” taste.

>> You can also give this simple 4-Ingredient Strawberry Banana Ice Cream a try!

 

3. Smoothies: Bananas are one the most used fruits in smoothies. Peel and cut a ripe banana into chunks before freezing in a resealable bag for your morning to-go smoothie. Bananas especially taste good in a smoothie when combined with either strawberries or pineapple.

>> Recipe: Kiwi Banana Protein Smoothie

4. Banana pudding: Ripe bananas added with some vanilla wafers, vanilla pudding and milk makes a fantastic dessert of banana pudding that is sure to please. Just remember it’s best served chilled, so plan to prepare this mid-afternoon for an after dinner delight. Try Skinny Mom’s Banana Pudding Cookies!

5. ‘Fried’ bananas: Known for being a Vietnamese favorite, fried bananas were often sold as “street food.” Warm a well-greased skillet over medium, add sliced bananas and pour a combined mixture of honey and water overtop. Pinch some cinnamon on top when finished cooking. ‘Fried’ bananas also taste great over a scoop of low-fat vanilla ice cream.

How do you use your browned bananas? Try to make something new next time instead of throwing them out!