If there is one utterly reliable source of stress when I enter my kitchen, it is the sight of bananas ripening faster than I can consume them. No matter how green they are when I pick them out at the grocery store, it seems once I get them home, they activate their "super banana ripening powers" once again. I freeze them, bake them into muffins and breads, give them away…still they keep on ripening, turning from green to yellow to brown in record-breaking time. Recently I finally admitted defeat and began searching for other things I could do with my growing stash. If you have the same banana issue I do, maybe these creative uses can help you too!

1. Lure pretty winged things to your backyard

Humans aren’t the only ones who enjoy tasty bananas—birds and butterflies love them too!

  • What to do: Find a raised surface in your backyard and place your overripe, peeled bananas there. Wait (with binoculars if available). It won't be long before you spy the whir of wings!

2. Send plant pests packing

Aphids are death to roses and other fragrant, lovely, growing things. Luckily, if there is one thing aphids dislike, it’s bananas.

  • What to do: After peeling the bananas for the birds and butterflies, cut up the peels and bury them just one or two inches beneath the soil close to the base of each flowering plant. Soon you will notice an aphid exodus beginning.

3. Speed the progress of your compost pile

If you’ve recently started a compost pile, you already know this is a project that can take some time to show results. Adding bananas can speed up the composting process (after all, we already know how quickly they ripen).

  • What to do: Add peeled, whole, overripe bananas to your starter compost pile—but be sure to cover them with less speedy compost pile items (so the family dog or a visiting critter doesn't make a meal out of them).

4. Nourish your new spring or late fall garden

Bananas are great for easing muscle cramps (including in the most important muscle of all, our heart) because they are full of potassium. In the same way, potassium is a vital nutrient for plant life, and never more so than in the late fall and early spring when the soil is sorely in need of extra nourishment.

  • What to do: After adding the whole bananas to the compost pile, take the peels and dry them out for a bit. Then grind them up (a food processor works well for this) or simply cut them up and mix them in with the soil as fertilizer.

5. Cook up the world's most tender roast

Did you know that banana is a natural meat tenderizer? In fact, in some countries it’s standard practice to rub an overripe banana on before cooking meat—or even wrap the meat in banana peels or leaves.

  • What to do: The next time you plan to cook a roast, tenderize it first by rubbing banana over it. Or you can add a whole, peeled, overripe banana to the pan by mashing it up and lining the pan with it. Your roast will be tender and tasty—guaranteed.

6. Find relief from insect bites and other itchy occurrences

Did you know banana contains natural anti-itch properties? If you find yourself scratching away after an insect bite, rash, or brush with another allergen, find relief in bananas. The same holds true for warts, bruises and scrapes—the potassium and phosphorus in bananas helps the injured skin heal faster.

  • What to do: Rub the overripe banana or the inside of the peel over the itchy, scraped, or bruised area, or directly over the wart (for warts, do this daily for 1-2 weeks until the wart dissolves).

7. Ease out splinters

Banana isn’t called a natural first aid remedy for nothing. Banana can help ease out splinters in a jiffy.

  • What to do: Simply place a thin sliver of ripe banana directly over the splinter and secure it with a Band-Aid or wound tape. Check after 10-15 minutes, and you should see the splinter beginning to work its way out of the skin.

8. Polish just about anything to a high shine

Banana insides and peels are natural polishing agents. From skin to silver, you can use overripe bananas in place of expensive polishes.

  • What to do: Take the peel (with a bit of banana still attached) and polish your leather and silver goods until they shine.

9. Ease stress, end headaches and repel wrinkles

Bananas are great stress relievers—and are also thought to contain anti-aging properties.

  • What to do: If you eat a banana a few hours before you go to bed, you will have better sleep. Apply the inside of the peel to your forehead and watch your headache slip away. Rub mashed bananas across your skin to ease acne and tighten skin. (Goodbye, wrinkles!) Finally, if you rub the peel across your teeth for several days in a row, your teeth will look whiter!