Recently faced with too many bananas (even for banana bread), I made this banana ketchup recipe. Ketchup is any spicy condiment containing vinegar, sugar, spices and almost any type of fruit or vegetable. Fifty years ago and more, ketchup was simply made to make use of excess produce, as well as to provide a delicious condiment. In the 1955 edition of Ann Seranne’s The Complete Book of Home Preserving, she lists ketchup recipes for apple, cranberry, and mushroom as well as tomato and other fruits. Today in America and perhaps around the world, ketchup (sometimes spelled catsup) refers to a spicy tomato sauce, classically served with hamburgers, hot dogs, and French fries. In the recent book, Salsa, Sambals, Chutneys And Chow-Chows Christopher Schlesinger keeps the old tradition alive, including ketchup recipes for peach, papaya, and onion.
Basic, easy fruit or banana ketchup
Makes 1/2 to 1 cup sauce
1-2 bananas, peeled and mashed with a fork (other fruits may be used, see Variations below)
2-4 tablespoons minced onion
2-4 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar
1-2 tablespoons paprika
1/2 to 1 cup water, or as needed
1-2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt
1/2 to 1 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/16 to 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper or ground red chili pepper
- In a small (1 quart) saucepan, stir together all ingredients. Place saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil, about 5 minutes. Lower heat to a simmer or very slow boil and continue to cook the mixture 30-40 minutes, or until it is reduced by 2/3 or more and becomes very thick. During cooking, stir the sauce every 5-10 minutes, and adjust the heat as needed to maintain a simmer.
- Test the sauce for thickness by placing a spoonful onto a small plate and putting the plate in the refrigerator. When cold, there should be not be a clear ring around the sauce solids; a fingertip should leave a track when drawn through the sauce. If too thin, return to a simmer and cook until sauce is the desired consistency. Taste the cold sauce and double (or triple) the amount of cayenne or chili pepper, if you want a sauce with more “kick”.
Variations: If you use very ripe bananas, the sauce will be brown; for a red sauce, use ripe or under ripe bananas, white table sugar, and also add tomato paste, red pepper purée, or paprika. Any type of sugar may be used, such as raw sugar, demerara, or muscovado, as well as honey. Replace or combine the banana with another other fruit, such as apples, cranberries, tart cherries, peaches, pears, mangoes, or papayas. You may also replace the cider vinegar with lemon or lime juice. Finally, add garlic or other spices such as nutmeg or herbs such as thyme (especially for mushroom or other vegetable ketchups). This recipe makes a chunky sauce; if you want a smooth sauce, puree the ingredients in a blender or food processor before adding to the saucepan step 1.
Serving suggestions: serve as a dip for sweet potato fries or fish and chips. Use as a burger topping, especially beef burgers with cheese, chicken burgers, salmon burgers, or bean burgers. Mix half-and-half with mayonnaise, if desired. Add to a basic vinaigrette and use as a dressing for mixed bitter greens garnished with carrots, cheese, or nuts.
For more information
Why is ketchup also called catsup?
About Ketchup from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
In Indonesian, Filipino, and Caribbean cuisines, banana sauce is a favored condiment. Banana sauce is easy to buy in the bottle at Asian grocery stores or the Asian section of any large, well-stocked American store. But making a fruit ketchup is a nice option for using up excess fruit. This easy banana ketchup recipe can be adapted to ingredients you have on hand.