There they are again. Those brown speckled bananas that you were SURE were going to be long gone by now, but no…here they are. But before you reach once again for that trusty banana bread recipe, walk on the wild side with me. Break out the brown sugar and the cinnamon and let’s make some easy, no scary canning involved, spicy, creamy banana jam. Yep, banana jam.
I will spare you a picture of the – shall we say – aged? bananas that were lounging on my countertop, but trust me when I say they were past the prime of their banana lives. So while their chances of anyone peeling them for an afternoon snack were long gone, they were absolutely perfect candidates for banana jam. I mushed them up and popped them in a small heavy saucepan with a little brown sugar, some lemon juice and some butter.
Stir this concoction around until everything is nice and simmering, and let it bubble away for about 20 minutes or so. Make sure you stir it every 5 minutes just to make sure things aren’t sticking or burning (I set a timer for this because it’s entirely possible that I can get onto Yummly and look up to find out that an hour has gone by). By this point, everything will be melted together and delectable. Don’t worry if it still looks runny – it’s going to thicken up a little bit more as it cools off. Remember that this is jam, not jelly, so it is always going to be a little soft (think apple butter-ish), but that is going to come in handy on the various things you can use it for. More on that later.
Now comes a fork in the banana jam road where you have a decision to make, and that is how much of a cinnamon and vanilla taste you want to add in. I am a big cinnamon and vanilla lover, so I go for the stronger end of the spectrum, but you might want to start out with less and add more as you taste. Yes, you MUST taste. It’s a requirement.
So, taste a test spoonful, add a little vanilla and cinnamon, take another test spoonful, and add more or leave it as is…you get the idea! Once the taste is good and perfect, let it cool off to room temperature. And then….oh, and then!
Then you get to try all the things that are possible with banana jam. Such as…
Serving it warmed up over vanilla ice cream with graham cracker crumbs on top
Making a peanut butter and banana jam sandwich
Spreading it on one of my mama’s homemade scones (recipe here!)
Rolling it up inside a warm leftover pancake.
The banana jam possibilities are endless. This recipe makes about a cup and a half, and will last for a week or two in your fridge. If it even lasts for a day once everyone in your house finds out you have made banana jam!
- 3 ripe bananas (about 1½ cups when mashed)
- Juice from one lemon
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1-2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Mash the bananas and put in a small heavy saucepan with the lemon juice, sugar and butter. Bring it to a simmer over medium heat and then turn to low. Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring every five minutes or so.
- Turn off the heat and let it cool until it is cool enough to taste. Taste and then add the cinnamon and vanilla by half teaspoon-fuls until it has the taste you like. The jam will still be a little liquid at this point - don't worry!
- Let the jam cool completely to room temperature - it will thicken up as it cools to about the consistency of apple butter.
- Store in the fridge for a week or so - if it even lasts that long!