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It must be banana season as the supermarkets are full of them at silly prices. I am beginning to think that I have come across and tried every banana recipe known to mankind. Is there a method of preserving banana? The weather here is quite dry so I have thought about drying banana slices. How about preserves, is there a way to preserve banana without using any sugar? Unfortunately freezing is not an option for me, since my freezer space is at a premium.

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    It's always useful to mention in your question if there are obvious things you can't do, like freezing. Editing these things in help readers have all the information needed without having to read (potentially long) comment threads. – Kareen Mar 20 '17 at 15:10
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    There are probably a thousand things I can't do. I want to know what I can do. – dougal 5.0.0 Mar 20 '17 at 15:16
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    Well if you want to know what you can do, but there are common things you can't do, you kind of have to say so, or (as you saw here) people will suggest them. Kareen wasn't asking you to list a thousand things, just to edit the "no freezing" bit into the question, rather than leaving it as only a comment. – Cascabel Mar 20 '17 at 15:22
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    @dougal3.0.0: Same goes for people asking questions. There's a million things you can't do, and a million things you can do. But when the question is about cooking, one expects a cooking environment, i.e.: A kitchen. Presence, absence, or limited amount of freezing capability is no more than a normal thing to add. Especially when one of the relevant parts of the question is about preservation. – Willem van Rumpt Mar 21 '17 at 17:27
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    @dougal3.0.0 I edited to use exactly the phrasing you preferred, including information that multiple people besides me have told you should be included in the question, with plenty of upvotes on their comments. What you're seeing here is me doing my job. So thanks for not getting into an edit war over it - that's not a reasonable response. (And I would prefer you refer to me as "they" - I'm not male.) – Cascabel Mar 21 '17 at 17:57
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You don't mention what variety of banana you have access to. There is a host of banana varieties and they all have different characteristics in regard to flavor and texture.

Hands of bananas

I will assume that you are referring to the Cavendish variety that is ubiquitous in the west.

bunch of four cavendish bananas

Cavendish bananas, when ripe, are very fragile. They go mushy easily and oxidize quickly. Before they are ripe they are more starchy but relatively flavorless with kind of grassy overtones.

Drying them is easy and great if you like eating a lot of banana chips. Recipes are easy to find. You want to use bananas that are slightly under ripe. If they are fully ripe they get leathery instead of drying crisp. Some recipes will call for spraying or tossing them in acid or other mixtures to improve the color or flavor. Obviously, living in a dry climate will help a lot making the drying process much faster and so reduce the chance of mold.

You don't often see banana preserves (chunks of fruit bottled in a syrup) because the ripe fruit falls apart when cooked and the under ripe fruit doesn't have a strong or pleasant enough flavor.
Instead, an option that is used often in SE Asia where there is a huge variety of bananas is banana jam. This is more like what I would call a fruit butter. The bananas are pureed and cooked with sugar and sometimes pectin and then bottled. Sometimes chunks of fruit are left but they are much more tender than your typical preserves. It tastes good and will keep almost forever. If you haven't bottled before, the bottling process is more involved than drying. It is easy to find recipes. Many of them will include lime juice or other acids to reduce the browning. Often spices are added which will vary according to the local cuisine.

Banana Jam

The strangest preservable banana application I have seen was Filipino banana ketchup. Not bad but I can't imagine using enough of the stuff to preserve any quantity of fruit.
Banana sauce
While writing this post I discovered that banana ketchup is made everywhere bananas are more common than tomatoes. It looks like banana ketchup from other cuisines has a greater ratio of banana and is appropriately yellow.

Banana ketchup

  • Sorry, don't really know, but they are quite small and not the 'standard' european ones. They are quite dry and do not tend to 'brown' go mushy that quickly, however they are also quite sweet. lot's of info above, will put brain into gear and get thinking on your answer. – dougal 5.0.0 Mar 20 '17 at 16:44
  • Stack Exchange Asia? :) – OldBunny2800 Mar 21 '17 at 0:09
  • straitstimes.com/world/africa/… is worth a read for some idea on banana cultivars. There's so many more though. My parents consider the cavendish (which they call a "morris" for some reason) to be practically inedible. – Journeyman Geek Mar 21 '17 at 4:45
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    Banana jam (or something like) can be made without sugar, since Op asked for sugarless options. I've made it, just cooking banana down to a paste (though I didn't keep it long term), and it's pretty tasty... the sweetness of the banana is enough. I don't think the sugar is actually needed for structure if it is cooked thick, or preservation (assuming proper canning technique), it just tastes good. – Megha Mar 22 '17 at 1:10
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  • You can keep them in the fridge for a couple of weeks.
  • You can fry them.
  • You can dry them.
  • You can comfit* them.
  • You can make marmalade.
  • You can make chutney.

*Comfit with m - sugaring

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    After "you can fry them, you can dry them" I was hoping the rest of the answer would be in verse... :( – Catija Mar 20 '17 at 16:01
  • Yup, the banana marmalade is an option, I will search for a recipe that does not include sugar (big no no here). Thanks – dougal 5.0.0 Mar 20 '17 at 16:39
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    @Catija, I was feeling a bit like Bubba there – BaffledCook Mar 20 '17 at 16:41
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    @rumtscho, comfit, with sugar. Frying to leave them dry as potato chips, yes. – BaffledCook Mar 20 '17 at 17:20
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    @roetnig You don't eat the skin. The flesh stays good for longer than outside the fridge. – BaffledCook Mar 21 '17 at 13:06
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You didn't mention your location in the question. There are lots of types of bananas in the whole world, some are consumed raw and some cooked.

I read in another comment that you are in the Canary Islands. Canary island bananas are Cavendish variety, with subtypes Gran Enana, Zelig y Gruesa Palmera. This varieties are mostly consumed raw.

Canary bananas are harvested throughout the year, and prices don't vary much. So it doesn't make sense to preserve it. Anyway.. If you have some leftover and got tired of banana bread, etc.. you can make jam, though I find it uninteresting from a culinary point of view :

  • 1kg of Canary ripe bananas (weight without skin)
  • 500g of sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 tablespoon of pure vanilla extract
  • juice of 1 lemon or orange

Put in a bowl the chopped banana, the sugar and the juice. Leave it to stand for 15 minutes to release a little juice.

Put a saucepan over medium heat and add the mixture from the bowl and the spices.

Cook on medium heat for about 45 minutes. Stir occasionally.

Once cooked, beat with a mixer to get a smoother texture.

🍌 🍌 🍌 🍌 🍌 🍌

  • They maybe harvested throughout the year, but at the moment they are seriously cheap, maybe a bumper harvest of some kind - I don't know. How long will your jam/marmalade recipe once jarred last for? – dougal 5.0.0 Mar 21 '17 at 13:19
  • Months. As any preserve, depends on the conditions of storage and exposure to pathogens. If the jar is sealed with vacuum, stored in a dark cold place it can last for six months to one year or even more. Sugar acts as a preserving agent, and putting the jam in sterile jars helps to avoid microbial spoilage. Food preservation – roetnig Mar 22 '17 at 10:58

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