A colleague and freelance writer, Stacey Feintuch, asked me a couple questions about the use of overripe fruit in juices and smoothies. I hadn't thought about this issue before and so began a new adventure.
Turns out that there are surprising reasons NOT to throw away that bruised fruit! Furthermore, throwing them into your juice or smoothie machine, rather than your garbage disposal, is particularly beneficial! Here's why.
First of all, I'm not talking about fruit that smells bad, has mold on it, or is covered by a cloud of fruit flies! Throw that away.
I'm talking about fruit we often - too often! - discard simply because it's soft, discolored or bruised. Most consumers don't realize that a “sell by” date has nothing to do with food safety. Many foods at their “sell by” or “best before” dates are not only safe to eat but still fresh! If you quickly want to know just how long your fruit - or any food - will last - simply type it in at StillTasty.
Overripe and bruised fruit may look bad, but it’s perfectly fine to eat. Those unsightly bruises are a turn-off, but if we can find a way to overlook the imperfections, we can stop contributing to the growing problem of throwing away too much food, as much as $1300 worth of food per household every year! Juices and smoothies are a great way to ignore all the bruises and get all that great taste!
But there's much more to overripe fruit. It's actually healthier! Research shows that fruit that's past its peak contains more antioxidants, especially disease-fighting ones known as ‘nonfluorescing chlorophyll catabolites.’
Here's particularly good news about overripe bananas - America’s favorite fruit. Preliminary research in mice found a compound in the dark bruised part of bananas that seems to have an effect on cancer cells, but further study needs to confirm this controversial Japanese research. Yet another benefit of overripe bananas is that the starch converts to sugar for much faster digestion making them perfect for an energy juice or smoothie. So don’t throw away those black bananas! Freeze them for use in the following delicious workout smoothie - my favorite
- 1 overripe Banana
- ½ Beet (studies show compounds in raw beets enhance exercise recovery and athletic performance!)
- 2 cups Coconut milk
- 2 ounces dairy-free Protein Powder
- Dash of Cinnamon and Nutmeg (for more antioxidants!)
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla extract.
- Oh, by the way, kids will love this too and it’s gluten and dairy free!
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 0 minutes
- Total Time: 5 minutes
- Yield: 20 oz.
- Use a high speed blender (at least 10,000 RPM's) or a smoothie machine
- Chop your produce to fit your machine as per manufacturer instructions
- There is no order to adding these ingredients - you can place them all in a blender at once
- Chill your smoothie by adding an ice cube or frozen banana before blending!