DIY Compostable Banana Leaf Bowls for Your Next Picnic

Compostable_Banana_Leaf_bowl The 4th of July is just days away – can you believe it? It feels like it was only yesterday I was shoveling myself out of 40 inches of snow.  Now it’s time to celebrate July 4th!

To help ya’ll prepare for the celebration, I have an awesome tutorial for you - A Compostable Banana Leaf Bowl.

The idea for this tutorial came up when Karen of ecokaren and I were exchanging comments on one of her posts on Facebook.  She had a reader who wanted to know, “What’s better, environmentally and cost wise: paper products vs. dishwasher for every day use?“ I initially suggested she just let the kids eat right out of the pot and avoid the whole dish thing altogether –  ya’ know, hand them all wooden spoons and let them have at it - {I know I’m funny}.  I also posted how growing up in Puerto Rico, we would use our hands to hold a mound of “stolen” cooked rice and use our shirts to hold food so we could eat on the run.  Then Karen got funnier and suggested, banana leaves or corn husks!  That turned the little light bulb in my head.  I’ve eaten off a banana leaf several times! We both agreed it would make a great tutorial.

Today, you can get all the help you need to green your 4th of July Celebrations. When you finish reading and sharing my awesome post – head on over to  ecokaren.com, where Karen shares a great tutorial - DIY: How to Make a Waterproof Picnic Blanket with Upcycled Old Reusable Grocery Bags  What a great idea to use up old reusable grocery bags!

Double awesome.

Ok, Enough chatter and on to the tutorial.

How to Make Compostable Banana Leaf Bowl for Your Next Picnic 

Banana Leaf bowls offer two benefits:

  • Environmental benefit, because the finished product is compostable ( I debated on whether this was a real word or not  - Karen assured me it is) 
  • Financial benefit – it’s cheap and easy. Banana leaves can also hold liquid items and delicious ice cream.

Here’s how to make them, what you’ll need and where to get the supplies.

You’ll Need:

Compostable_Banana_Leaf_bowl_supplies

  • Banana leaves (For about $2 at your local grocery store or whole food market – if you live on an island, probably your backyard and FREE)
  • Small knife(in your stash)
  • Cutting board (on hand)
  • Square template or a piece of paper that has been squared. (in your stash)
  • Stapler loaded with staples(in your stash)

Instructions:

The process is super easy and should take less than 5 minutes to make one bowl.  So no need to stress out if you feel you are not the craftiest person around.

Step 1 –  You will need to prep your banana leaves by soaking them in water for a few minutes to make them pliable (easy right?). Dry leaves will rip and frustrate you. 

soak_the_leaf

Step 2 - Find a good size square item that can be used as a template. I created one using a piece of legal paper. Just fold one corner up to the opposite edge, turn it over and fold over the excess paper – voilá, perfect square! 

square-template

Step 3 – Remove your banana leaf from the water and pat it dry with a dish towel. I only pat one side

pat-dry

Step 4 – Lay your square template over the banana leaf and cut the leaf using a small knife – I used a small paring knife. 

cut-the-leaf

Step 5 – Now for the fun part. about 2 inches from the outer corner gently push the banana leaf in and lay the back part down – almost like you’re wrapping a gift. 

fold

Step 6 – Staple the corner.  Follow steps 5 and 6 for the other three corners.

staple_the_corner

Banana leaves tend to rip, so if you end up with a tear on the inside of your bowl – don’t fret. Just cut another piece of leaf the same size as the inside of your bowl and lay it bowl where the tear is.  

banana-leaf-rip

Now you’re bowl is ready to use.  Place your food inside the bowl and enjoy.  If you feel uncomfortable having staples touch your food, you can layer an extra leaf and cover the staples. 

Compostable_Banana_Leaf_bowl

Herbanluxe Lunch Time

If you have left over leaves, place them in an air tight container or freezer bag and put save them in your freezer. Leaving the banana leaves out will result in brittle, dry, leaves that will only be good to weave a hat with. ;)

FACT:

Did you know? Worldwide consumption of disposable and single-use food/drink containers is estimated at more than 430,000,000,000 units per year, or about 140,000 each second. That’s a lot of waste!

Myra’s Lunch

lunch

Ok, after I wrote this post – I shared the last photo with Karen and she suggested – um, strongly urged  –  I should share the recipe. She’s good…really good. Isn’t she? So read below for this “secret” recipe that she convinced me to share with y’all.

As I mentioned above, I grew up in Puerto Rico.  My other half is from Colombia in South America, so in my house, we tend to eat a mix of American foods and Spanish foods.   In the bowl, I have “Vianda”, which are tuber vegetables (had to look that one up to translate) Malanga, Yautia, and Guineos (cooking bananas).

How to make Vianda:

Remove the bark with a potato peeler, cube and place in a pot of  salted water and boil until tender.

Serve hot or warm with a drizzle of olive oil.

Now, wasn’t that complicated? Nope. This is not overly complicated and it’s inexpensive and filling.

Off to check out Karen’s Waterproof Picnic Blanket made with upcycled reusable grocery bags. Waterproof Picnic Blanket by ecokaren

Have a Happy Fourth of July!

This post was written by

Myra @ HerbanLuxe – who has written posts on Eco Etsy.
Myra is an Etsian with an MBA. The art of business and technology are her two obsessions. She has been writing EcoEtsy Business Tips since 2010. Myra grew up in Puerto Rico with grandparents who were a head of their time and didn't know it - living what we would call today, "a simple green life." Her love of learning and teaching are the key drivers in almost everything she does.

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About Myra @ HerbanLuxe

Myra is an Etsian with an MBA. The art of business and technology are her two obsessions. She has been writing EcoEtsy Business Tips since 2010. Myra grew up in Puerto Rico with grandparents who were a head of their time and didn't know it - living what we would call today, "a simple green life." Her love of learning and teaching are the key drivers in almost everything she does.

Comments

  1. This was a fun post to do! Love this banana leaf dish/bowl idea. I’m making these for my July 4th block party! And thanks for posting the recipe for Vianda! That looks delicious. Can I use yucca? I’m going to feel like I’m in Puerto Rico!

    I swear, we should ‘chat’ more often. We come up with the zaniest ideas, don’t we? Great post!

  2. Myra, this is awesome! Mark and I go to the beach every weekend and our picnic plates usually consist of our hands or a cotton napkin. I love this idea! I would even just use the banana leaves flat as sandwich plates. I think I have seen these in the Indian grocery storewhere we buy spices and yogurt.