Banana peels make sugar cookies better for you

Banana peels are no longer always destined for the trash or compost. They make their way onto people’s plates, replacing the pork in the “pulled-skin” sandwiches and frying in the “bacon.” And now researchers reporting in ACS Food Science and Technology show that incorporating banana peel flour into sugar cookie dough makes treats healthier. In taste tests, cookies enriched with banana peel flour were more satisfying than those baked with wheat flour alone.

Interest in plant-based diets and reducing food waste is growing, and people want creative ways to use every part of their vegetables and fruits. Banana peels are one of those scraps that chefs and home cooks have experimented with, but these peels are extremely fibrous, making them unpalatable to eat raw. Recently, scientists discovered that they could grind the peels into a flour rich in fiber, magnesium, potassium and antioxidant compounds. And when small amounts of wheat flour in breads and cakes were replaced with the new flour, the baked goods were more nutritious and had acceptable flavors. However, similar experiences have not been widely performed with cookies. Thus, Faizan Ahmad and his colleagues wanted to replace some of the wheat flour in sugar cookies with banana peel flour, evaluating the nutritional quality, storage stability and consumer acceptance of the cookies. .

To make banana peel flour, researchers peeled ripe, undamaged bananas, then blanched, dried and ground them into a fine powder. They mixed different amounts of powder with butter, skimmed milk powder, powdered sugar, vegetable oil and wheat flour, creating five batches of sugar cookies and baked them.

Increasing the amount of banana peel flour from 0-15% in batches produces browner and tougher products, which could be a result of the increased fiber content of the peels. Additionally, banana peel flour cookies were healthier, containing less fat and protein, higher amounts of phenols, and better antioxidant activities than conventional cookies. A trained panel determined that the cookies with the smallest banana peel flour substitution (7.5%) had the best texture and the highest overall acceptability compared to the other batches. This batch also kept well for three months at room temperature – it tasted the same as the wheat versions only after the long storage period. Since cookies can be fortified with banana peel flour without affecting consumer acceptance, the researchers say this addition could make these baked goods more nutritious.

The authors acknowledge funding from the Department of Post-harvest Engineering and Technology, Faculty of Agricultural Sciences, Aligarh Muslim University.

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