8 Uses for Bananas Besides EatingI was grocery shopping with a friend the other day when I plucked a bunch of bananas off the shelf and placed them in my shopping cart. The plan was to nibble on them with breakfast and shove a few in my daughter's lunch, but my friend had another idea. "Did you know you can use bananas to make dog biscuits?" she asked.

This is why I suggest grocery shopping with a friend at least a few times a year. You'll come up with new uses for your favorite foods. In fact, friends have shared a variety of uses for bananas over the years, and wouldn't you know it, none of them actually involve eating (by humans, anyway)?

The next time you snag a bunch of bananas at the grocery store, you might want to try one of these:

1. Help your roses grow. My mother-in-law is a master gardener, and she swears by bananas to help your roses flourish. You can bury a whole banana up close to the roots of your rosebush or simply take your old, decaying peels, break them up, and push them into the dirt near the roots.

2. Shine leather shoes. Don't have any polish handy for your dark shoes? Try the inside of a banana peel!

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3. Condition your hair. Looking for a deep conditioning treatment that won't set you back big bucks? All you need for this key to luscious locks is a banana, some olive oil, plastic wrap, and some time!

4. Treat cracked heels. Last summer I had some of the worst cracked heels I've had in years, and my usual lotions and potions were not working. A friend suggested using a banana peel, and I'll admit I raised my eyebrows at her, but I was desperate ... and it turns out it works! For this treatment, all you need is the peel. Place the inside of the peel against the broken skin before you're ready to go to bed at night. Put on a pair of socks to hold the peel in place and leave it overnight. The nutrients soak into your skin and help to soften the hard, dead skin. In the morning, attack with a pumice stone.

5. Remove deep splinters. As mentioned in #4, banana peels can soften skin. So it only stands to reason that they soften the skin enough to release a splint, right? If it's in the foot, you can do the same procedure as mentioned in #3, allowing the peel to rest against the affected area overnight. If the splinter is somewhere else -- the hand, for example -- cut a chunk of the peel off, apply to the area, and use medical tape to hold it in place overnight. The splinter should work its way out, sticking in the pulp of the peel. If not, by morning the skin should be soft enough to allow for tweezers to get at the splinter.

6. Make dog biscuits. Why should humans have all the fun? This recipe mixes bananas with peanut butter for yummy treats your pooch will love.

7. Make vinegar. OK, so eventually you will eat this ... in a way! But seriously, did you know you can make your own vinegar? And that banana vinegar is delicious on salad? It's easy enough to make with water, bananas, baker's yeast, and not much else.

8. Make a face mask. If you love the scent of fresh bananas, this is the perfect beauty DIY for you. And all it takes is banana, honey, and lemon juice!

Got any banana tricks up your sleeves? What do YOU do with the versatile fruit?

 

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