“ Brand: Soap Kitchen / Dosage: Powder / Dosage Form: Powder „
(Thanks to Gong "Flying Teapot" for the title...)
Banana Powder. Yes really. Banana powder that is NOT Nesquik. This is the real deal and is an ingredient that can be used in all sorts of home-made concoctions.
The majority of banana powder is created from fresh, spray-dried bananas, and has a great effect on dry and sensitive skin when used in soaps and body butters. Using a dried banana product means less chance of oxidation and spoilage, you do not want a fresh ingredient turning your whole soap or body butter batch manky and mouldy....
Banana powder is formed by using fresh banana pulp, which is machine chopped and then processed with a hydraulic shear. The resultant paste is then dried via spray or drum drying. My banana powder came from The Soap Kitchen, who supply oils, butters, moulds and powders etc to the home alchemist who likes to make their own body care products.
The Soap Kitchen's banana powder came in a big box of other products. It was double bagged in a plastic food type bag and 100g is actually quite a large amount. Both of the plastic bags were knotted to ensure that the product arrived ready to be used and not spilled inside the box.
The banana powder from The Soap Kitchen is not coloured yellow like some are which is a good thing. It is pure freeze dried banana. The colour is a sandy beige and it has a very fine texture like a good quality flour. It does not smell of bananas in its dry form, rather it has a "health shop" type aroma. Those of you who frequent such places will know what I mean.
Stick your finger in it though and taste it... this is where you will recognise the banana. It reminds me in smell and taste of banana baby food, which is not surprising really, as banana powder is mainly produced for this very purpose.
I did not buy my powder to eat, I bought it for soaps and body products, so the taste is irrelevant. I am not sure what it is about some of these ingredients....although destined for body use, I get the overwhelming urge to taste them. Now obviously I would not be having a sneaky sip of Sodium Hydroxide, but Shea, Cocoa, Mango butter have all been sampled. And now this...
(My favourite was Shea by the way... yum)
I mixed some of this powder in with some melted shea and cocoa butter and it mixed in easily and was non-clumping. The result when taken out of the fridge was a delicious creamy coloured solid bar of moisturiser. There was no massive banana scent but it did add another layer of very gentle fragrance to the bars. It also added nutrients.
Banana powder can be used in both hot and cold process soap making, hot being the melt and pour type which usually have some type of glycerine base. Cold process involves using Lye (the hydroxide) to react with the fat and create the soap.
This powder also makes a cracking face mask when mixed in with some soya milk. One teaspoon full would do it, with enough soya milk to make it into a thick paste. I bought mine to add a certain "va va voom" to my various body butter bars.
For use in soaps, I recommend around 5-10% powder as an additive. For solid body butters, the ratio would be about the same unless you are using it for texture, in which case much more could be added.
Of course dried banana powder can be also used for all manner of cooking purposes, but in that situation I would use fresh.
Banana powder is very rich in Vitamin A and potassium. There is also a good amount of magnesium and Vitamins C and E in this powder. I would not recommend it for skin suffering from any kind of yeast problem as banana is high in fructose, sucrose and glucose.
It has skin soothing properties so is very useful for dry skin. Banana powder when used as a face mask is slightly astringent and cleansing, so is very good for acne or blemish prone skin.
Generally, banana powder will keep for around a year if stored in a decent air and moisture tight container. A simple clip type pot will do. Keep in a cool dry place.
An excellent way to add fruit properties and benefits to your home made products without the risk of spoilage.
Banana powder costs £2.25 for 100g from The Soap Kitchen:
Edit: The Soap Kitchen have informed me that all of their butters and oils are food grade. So if like me, you eye up that Shea and scoff a bit, you will not suffer for it ...
"We buy food grade oils and butters almost without exception, so although we're selling them for 'technical' uses, they and many other products we have are either food or BP grade"