Banana chutney is so easy to make and the perfect accompaniment to curries, rice and dhals. The ideal preserve for a chutney novice.
I’m a big chutney-phile. Accompanying cold meat or some cheese, we love a big dollop of sweet and vinegary chutney. We also love making it, buying trays of fresh fruit and vegetables from our local market, and simmering them in our largest saucepan. As always I love knowing what goes into my jams and chutneys, and cooking them to my preferred consistency, and I also love experimenting with new ideas.
The range of produce that can be turned into chutney is huge, but one of the less common fruits that makes a great chutney is banana – it may not seem like the obvious thing to make chutney from but they result is delicious. In developing this recipe and experimenting with other fruit chutneys, I had successes and failures: kiwifruit chutney was an interesting experiment, but one not to be repeated.
Banana chutney should really be better known, and it’s actually one of our favourites. The sweetness of the bananas really contrasts with the sharp vinegar and the onion. We serve it with cottage cheese at lunchtime; with cold ham or a blue cheese for a light supper, or with poppadoms when we order a curry, even though I’m sure a strict curry aficionado would be horrified, I don’t care. It’s just too good. It’s a particular favourite served with a lentil dhal and rice, one of my go-to quick, easy and healthy winter supper dishes.
We use our home made pickling vinegar for this recipe. Simply infuse the vinegar with spices for a few weeks before using; for this recipe, a pinch of cumin in the vinegar would be a delicious. The chutney itself is really simple to make. Chop the bananas into chunks, finely chop the onion, and add them both and the rest of the ingredients to a large preserving pan. Simmer gently until there is no free liquid, and transfer the chutney to sterilised jam jars.
Always pour your hot chutney into well warmed jam jars. I use a Pyrex jug and a jam funnel. Because of all the sugar the temperature of the simmering chutney will be way above boiling point and pouring into cold jars can crack them. For this reason it is best to stand them in a roasting tin – just in case they do shatter and chutney goes everywhere. Once poured give them a good tap on a chopping board to bring any air bubbles to the top, then seal.
The chutney is best kept in a dark cool cupboard for a couple of months to mature, but can be eaten straight away. As it matures it will darken. We had a jar that had been in the cupboard for well over 5 years which was still delicious!
This recipe is for a plainer chutney, but there are many ways to adapt this recipe. Banana and date chutney is a real winner (leave out two bananas and add a cup of chopped dates), or dry fry some spices in the preserving pan and make a curried banana chutney; I would use some curry powder and cumin.
- 5 lb bananas - peeled and sliced (peeled weight - about 25 bananas)
- 1.5 lb sugar (white)
- 1 lb onions – finely chopped (4 medium onions)
- 1 pint pickling vinegar
Place all the ingredients in a large preserving pan using homemade pickling vinegar and simmer, gently stirring from time to time to ensure they do not stick to the base. The chutney will take around 40 mins to an hour to cook. It is done when a reddish gold colour and when there is no free liquid when you drag a spoon across the top of it.
You could add some chillies to the chutney, but I like mine to be plain bananas and more cooling.
Pour into sterilised* jars and seal down.
This amount should make about 8 to 10 medium jars. The chutney is ready to eat immediately, but will improve upon keeping. It will keep for several years before opening.
To sterilise jars simply pop in the oven on GM 1 (275F / 140 C) for 20 mins and put the lids into a bowl and pour boiling water over.
Home-made banana chutney recipe originally published September 2007. Updated July 2017.