Pickled Bananas

I’ve pickled lots of different fruits and vegetables, so when I saw a recipe in a hundred-year-old magazine for Pickled Bananas I just had to give it a try.

The Pickled Bananas were a nice change of pace. The pickling syrup which contained cinnamon, mace, and cloves was delightful. And, much to my surprise, the pickled bananas reminded me a little of pickled beets or other pickled starchy vegetable.

Here is the hundred-year-old recipe:

Source: American Cookery (December, 1917)

And, here is the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Pickled Bananas

  • Servings: 6-8 servings
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

2 cups sugar

1/2 cup vinegar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon whole cloves

1/4 teaspoon mace

4  firm (green) bananas, peeled and cut into thirds

Put sugar and vinegar in a saucepan, stir. Then tie the spices into a small bag made of cheesecloth, and place in the saucepan with the sugar and vinegar mixture. (A small amount of the spices will leak out of the bag into the syrup  – that’s okay).   Bring the mixture to a boil using medium heat, then add the banana pieces. Bring the liquid back up to a boil, and then reduce to simmer. Cook until the bananas are tender and can be easily pierced using a wood toothpick. (The length of time will vary greatly depending upon how hard the bananas are. It might take 10 minutes, or it may take 30 minutes or more. Be patient.). Remove from heat. Chill for eat least 4 hours before serving.  Remove from syrup and serve.

I am not as frugal as homemakers a hundred years ago. I did not set the syrup aside for more pickling after I made this recipe.

38 thoughts on “Pickled Bananas

  1. As Grandma would say, “Well, I never!” Of all the things I could have imagined, pickled bananas never would have been on the list. We often had pickled crabapples, pears, and peaches when I was a kid, so why not? I had to look at the recipe a second time, and then I saw that it calls for green bananas. That makes sense, and helps to explain why they wouldn’t turn to mush.

    I like bananas foster, so I might try this as an alternative.

    1. I had a similar reaction when I first saw this recipe. Pickled bananas are not my favorite pickled fruit, but they provide some nice variety.

  2. Pickled banana’s! it’s mad what recipes they came up with back then but I suppose back in them day’s people was tougher, I could just imagine offering that to my daughter and seeing the look on her face 😔

  3. Thank you for sharing this ..I get plenty of green bananas and am always looking for recipes using green bananas and we love pickles so a match made in heaven…Thank you Sheryl 🙂

  4. I do believe that I’ll just be happy with bananas just as they are, and leave the pickling business to cucumbers,and red beets, “that way I don’t waste the sugar!🤓”

  5. Now this is fascinating. I would really like to try these. But it sounds like a lot of work if I don’t like them. Please come make them for me :).

  6. Interesting…sometimes I wonder what they would think of the foods we eat today? Processed meats and cheeses, fast food,etc….probably the same reaction most of us have from what they ate. 🙂

    1. I find it fascinating that the recipe author encouraged people to reuse the pickling juice. People were so frugal and focused on saving a hundred-years-ago.

  7. Interesting. I ran across this post while researching references to pickled bananas (jam/jelly) in the novel The God of Small Things.

  8. What a fascinating recipe…. I wonder what I could pair with these! I’ll try it at my next dinner party 😉

    1. Hmmm. . . I served these as a side dish at dinner, but am hoping that others will respond about what they paired with Pickled Bananas. I’m guessing that some readers might have some good suggestions.

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