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Grandma's Banana Jam

posted Apr 3, 2017, 3:33 PM by Dustin Thomas   [ updated Apr 3, 2017, 4:33 PM ]
I have always loved peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (peanut butter and jam actually, but I still say "jelly"). Really, I don't know if there is a better food out there. One thing that comes close is a peanut butter and banana sandwich - the flavor is great but it is hard to get enough banana slices in there, and it seems like whole slices end up sliding out leaving just peanut butter and bread on the next bite. Disappointing.

That's pretty much how my peanut butter-based sandwich world existed for the first 30 years of my life. Then two things happened. First, I tried a peanut butter and bacon sandwich - those are delicious too (and messy if prepared correctly). But that is a different story. The second event started with a conversation I had with my mom about pancake toppings. She eats her pancakes plain. Seems odd in and of itself so I asked what the heck she was doing. Turns out she doesn't really like maple syrup. I ask about jam. She says, "I don't like jam." Now, I know what you are thinking and the answer is: no, I don't believe my mom is insane. Even though a blanket statement like "I don't like jam" seems like the tip of the insanity iceberg. After a Tom Cruise-worthy cross examination, it turns out that she really doesn't like any kind of jam, not even homemade raspberry. At the end of this whole conversation, she casually throws out that her mom (my grandma) once got a bunch of over-ripe bananas for free and made banana jam with them. WHAT???

You see, I had never heard of banana jam. I asked her if it was good (dumb question). She of course said, "no, I don't like jam." She did add, somewhat reluctantly, that other people did seem to really like it. Luckily, my grandma was still alive then so I was able to secure her banana jam recipe - which I have now made a number of times. It's good on biscuits, it's yummy on pancakes, but where this stuff really shines is in the best peanut butter and jam sandwich you will ever taste. Here's the recipe:

Banana Jam
12 Cups sliced bananas (approximately 20)
6 Cups sugar
1.5 Cups orange juice
.75 Cups lemon juice
3 strips orange peel
6 strips lemon peel
2 cinnamon sticks
sprinkle nutmeg

Mix everything together.
Stir and heat over medium heat until sugar dissolves.
Boil gently for 10 minutes.
Simmer, stirring constantly until thick (15-20 minutes).
Remove the cinnamon sticks.

Now, it's done. You can can it if you know how to do that. I don't so I just put it in little plastic containers and freeze it. That's what us chefs call "freezer jam."