Banana ketchup is a savory condiment produced in regions like the Caribbean and the Philippines. It can be used to season a variety of dishes and may be found in large grocery stores and some import stores, in addition to being made at home. This condiment is naturally sweet with a hint of sourness from the vinegar used in its production, and may also be produced in hot varieties, with chilies added to make the condiment more zippy. Other spices can be added as well.
Understanding the origins of ketchup itself may be useful for people interested in banana ketchup. For thousands of years, people have been making sour condiments using vinegar and fermented fish, fruits, and vegetables. Many of these condiments were historically heavily spiced. In the 1600s, Chinese cooks were making a version with fermented fish with a name similar to “ketchup,” and European explorers in Southeast Asia began picking up recipes for these condiments, developing tomato ketchup in the 1800s.
Numerous recipes for ketchup with a variety of fruits and vegetables can be found, but over time, tomato ketchup became the most popular version of this condiment, made by simmering tomatoes with vinegar and spices and then bottling the resulting heavy sauce. The vinegar acted as a preservative to keep it fresh, even at room temperature. Banana ketchup became particularly popular in some regions of the world during the Second World War, when access to tomatoes was sometimes limited.
Made naturally, banana ketchup tends to be brownish in color, with a savory, tart flavor. Some companies dye theirs yellow or red and may have a lineup of versions with different spices to appeal to cooks. People can use banana ketchup as a standalone condiment or may add it to other condiments to make dipping sauces, glazes, and marinades. The naturally sweet flavor can sometimes be intensified with cooking methods where bananas are caramelized before the vinegar is added.
Recipes for banana ketchup are available, allowing people to make their own at home if they want to control the ingredients or if they have trouble finding this product in stores. People can also order it from import-export companies; it may be necessary to order a number of jars to get a good price, but banana ketchup has a long shelf life and jars can also be shared with friends. Consumers may note some companies marketing “Caribbean” or “Filipino” versions of banana ketchup; both tend to be similar in flavor and texture.