I have frozen bananas, I have cooked bananas, I have baked bananas, I have made banana pancakes, I have made banana bread, I have dried bananas, I have fried bananas, and now I can officially say that I have indeed turned these golden gods-of-fruit into my newest guilty pleasure: banana jam.
As a self-proclaimed banana maniac, I have no shame in letting everyone see me buy my 30-odd bananas every weekend when I do my grocery-shopping. I need some for breakfast, and obviously I need to portion some into freezer bags for my frozen smoothie lunch-bowls. Now, however, I will need to buy a few more so that I can boil them down into jam. Who would’ve thought?!
I have none other than YouTuber BananaJamana (I know, lol) to thank for this recipe. It’s a year old, but I’m so glad I scrolled back a little into her video log. The fact that the first time she made this was while filming the video helped ease my doubt about whether this would ruin banana’s versatility or not – and I can confidently announce that it does anything but that! In fact, I’d even dare say that it extends it ten-fold.
And holy moly is this the definition of “simple.” If it was any easier I think I’d be in danger of giving myself a banana jam-induced coma – or at the very least, a potassium overdose and potentially turning a shade of yellow for a few days. With ingredients you probably already have, and a turnover time of less than 30 minutes for 2 jars of the stuff, I really couldn’t encourage you enough to try this right now. Right now.
Because I wasn’t sure how quickly I’d eat it, I went about preparing another glass jar for sterilisation and storage. If you think you’d want to do this as well, don’t freak out – it’s really easy. Simply find a jar that has a vacuum seal (which you can find in anything you bought on a shelf rather than a fridge), and boil it for a few minutes right before you spoon in the jam. Make sure you don’t touch it until the jam is inside and the lid is screwed on, and make sure you use something that won’t risk you being burned – you are dealing with boiling water and a heat conductor, after-all.
Once you’ve closed the lid, leave the jar in your boiling water and let it sit in there for another few minutes, just to make sure the vacuum sits really nice and tight. Then you can let it cool down, and keep it in the sun-protected pantry for a pretty decent amount of time (I can’t say for sure, because I only made it today, so you’ll have to watch yours and make the call yourself… although, to be honest, I highly doubt it’ll remain uneaten for very long).
The other thing I can’t say for sure, and need to experiment with when I make it again, is the sourness. BananaJamana uses 4 lemons in her recipe, and I only used 2. Nevertheless, the jam still came out a tiny bit too lemony, and the only thing I can think to change would be to not let the bananas sit for longer than a few seconds in the lemon juice, before moving it into the pot. I coated my bananas in the lemon juice (which you do to prevent browning), and then worked with the water and the sugar for a few minutes before adding everything together. I think maybe the lemon soaked into the banana a little too much (…?), and moving it in earlier might counter the sourness. But again, this requires some more trial-and-error to perfect. Let me know if you strike the balance, please…!
And, if you’re like me, you can keep one jar for yourself and give the other one away. Don’t they make the cutest little presents? Gotta love a good ol’ homemade jam – and this one is something I guarantee you your friends haven’t seen before! 😀 Enjoy!
Banana jam (from BananaJamana)
3 large bananas
2 lemons, juiced
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 cup + 1 tbsp water
dash of vanilla essence
dash of almond essence
(*optional: 1 tbsp honey)
- Juice your lemons into a small bowl.
- Cut your bananas nice and finely, and set aside for the moment.
- Heat water in a small pot on the stove, and once bubbling add the sugar, essence, and optional honey.
- Once that boils, reduce heat, quickly coat bananas well in the lemon juice, and pour everything into the pot.
- Stirring occasionally, let the bananas simmer and reduce for about 20 minutes, before taking off the heat and letting cool a bit.
- If storing for longer than a week, prepare a sterile vacuum jar by boiling a glass jar and its lid (*make sure it has a rubber seal inside) in plain water for a few minutes. Spoon the mixture into the jar – without touching the jar with your hands – close the lid, and boil that for another few minutes to really seal the vacuum. Take out and leave to cool, before storing a dark, room temperature cupboard.