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FRUGAL LIVING: Using up overripe bananas

on September 20, 2013 10:50 AM

Overripe bananas can still be eaten. Mix them into baked goods such as pancakes, muffins, cakes or cookies. Add them to smoothies and milkshakes, or combine them with yogurt and spoon them into a popsicle mold, freeze them and make frozen yogurt pops. You can add one to your morning oatmeal or make banana oatmeal bread.

The first reader tip shares the recipe:

Using ripe bananas: I make banana oatmeal bread with bananas that are too mushy to eat.


1 cup packed brown sugar

1/4 cup and 3 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 large egg whites

1 large egg

1-1/3 cups mashed ripe banana (about 2 large)

1 cup regular oats

1/2 cup milk

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine first four ingredients in a large bowl; beat well at medium speed. Combine banana, oats and milk; add to sugar mixture, beating well. Spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Add to sugar mixture; beat just until moist. Spoon batter into a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350 degrees F for one hour and 10 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool 10-15 minutes in pan on a wire rack; remove from pan. — Lourdes, email


I like to make these soap balls for gifts.

1 cup instant Quaker oatmeal

1 bar mild soap (such as Ivory)

1/4 cup water

Use a mini-processor to chop the oatmeal, but don’t pulse it into a powder. Put into a bowl. Use a grater to grate the soap. Add the water and microwave on high for 2 minutes to melt it, then blend well. Add the oatmeal to the soap mixture. Once cool enough to handle, shape into balls and put on wax paper to dry. Balls can be put into containers or wrapped with plastic wrap and tied with raffia. A gift tag can be attached to the raffia. — Jeannie, Pennsylvania

Homemade apple juice concentrate: You can make apple juice concentrate by boiling down cider that you buy in the store or from a farm. Just place in a pot and boil down until the juice is a bit thick. It takes a long time, and the juice will taste very strong. You can add sugar, cinnamon sticks and/or cloves to it, if you like. I use this concentrate to flavor apple pies and all kinds of desserts, as well as syrup. — Mary Ann, email

Make applesauce and apple juice: If you don’t have a food mill, get one! They’re about $20 new or $5 used (if you can find one). My mom found mine at an antique store/junk shop. To make applesauce, wash your apples well and cut into chunks, seeds and all. Place chunks in a large pot and cover with water. Cook covered on medium-low until tender (20-40 minutes). Cool 10 minutes. Scoop apple chunks into food mill and crank over a large bowl. Discard seeds and peels. Now you have applesauce. The boiling water left over when you cook down your apples makes a great apple juice! Strain the liquid into a pitcher. Sweeten if desired. Chill well. — Constance, New Jersey

Sara Noel is the owner of Frugal Village (, a website that offers practical, money-saving strategies for everyday living. To send tips, comments or questions, write to Sara Noel, c/o Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut Street, Kansas City, MO, 64106, or email

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