Original article from Kent Live
Being zero-waste and cutting down on animal products are two of the new biggest trends in food – and not without good reason.
These are often touted as two of the biggest ways we can reduce our individual contribution to global warming, and instead of recycling or composting, many are finding new ways to use stuff that would usually go to waste.
In fact, that is the entire concept behind the new Ikea 'Scrapsbook', which was released earlier this year, and is available as a free PDF here.
Inside are a huge range of odd, intriguing and genuinely creative ways to repurpose your waste into something more useful, turning things you might think of as inedible into a snack or even a full meal.
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From soups to pancakes, burgers to ice cream, there are pages upon pages of quirky and left-field ways to repurpose your food waste.
The recipe book is written with guidance from real chefs – so this isn't some elaborate prank – at least from where I'm standing.
The singular item that intrigued me on this recipe list more than any other was the 'Banana peel bacon', accompanied by an improvised American-style pancake breakfast.
Now I didn't have the time to put into making a full set of pancakes with a side of salvaged berries, so I thought I'd cut to the chase and make the seemingly inedible into a meaty favourite – bacon.
The recipe for the bacon is actually really very simple to do, if a little trickier than regular bacon, or even a meat-free alternative.
You can't just chuck the peel in the pan, to nobody's surprise – you need to marinade it first.
The marinade is made with paprika, garlic powder, chilli powder, soy sauce and maple syrup, and on the face of it many of these ingredients make sense.
The soya provides some of that savoury saltiness, the paprika and chilli bring some smoky meatiness, the garlic adds some depth and the maple syrup helps it all crisp up with that subtle sweetness of Canadian bacon.
You also need to cut up your peel and scrape the pulpy white flesh off the inside of the skin, and then you're all ready to go.
That's the theory anyway.
I didn't have an awful lot of time to spare, and though you can let it marinade for up to two hours, I simply went for 15 minutes, which is more than the minimum recommended of 10.
From there, it's a question of frying them with a bit of oil for three minutes per side, and then letting them cool to eat.
I deviated on this recipe in two very small ways – I didn't have any maple syrup, so made do with golden syrup, and in place of garlic powder I used a single clove of fresh garlic.
I have to say – I was not at all optimistic about this.
If you've ever been unfortunate enough to have eaten some banana peel for any reason, the memory of a bitter, oddly dry flavour coating your mouth will be likely all you remember.
For that to become bacon would require a minor miracle.
Needless to say, however this was going to turn out was always going to be pretty entertaining.
I could not, in any way have predicted what I actually ended up tasting.
I did – to be clear – slightly burn my banana bacon, but with a smidge of ketchup on the side, this bizarre banana peel experiment was… a success?
On a scale where zero was not bacon, and 100 was bacon, this really genuinely strange recipe got well clear of the 50 mark.
The smokiness of the paprika, the salt of the soy sauce, the sweetness of the syrup, against all odds, actually kind of worked.
While there was some of that strange bitterness you'd associate with banana peel, it was mostly overwhelmed by flavours that were definitely in the ballpark of, if not actually resembling, bacon.
If it hadn't been so overcooked by myself, it might have actually have verged on moreish.
I'm not sure if I was unbelievably hungry, losing my mind, or both – but I finished the banana peel bacon; I quite enjoyed it.
So, there we have it – you can turn banana peel into something vaguely resembling bacon, and I think I've truly lost grip on reality.