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Hot and Spicy Banana Ketchup

  • 1 C raisins, dark or golden
  • 3/4 C coarsely chopped onions
  • 3-4 large cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 2/3 C tomato paste
  • 2 2/3 C white vinegar or cider vinegar
  • 3 pounds (about 8 large) ripe, fragrant bananas
  • 4-6 C water
  • 1 C packed brown sugar
  • 1T salt
  • 1t ground hot red pepper
  • 1/2 C light corn syrup
  • 4t ground allspice
  • 1 1/2t ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2t grated nutmeg
  • 1 t fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 t ground cloves
  • 1/4-1/3 C dark Jamaican rum

Combine the first four ingredients in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth, adding some of the vinegar, as necessary, to help the job along. Scrape the puree into a preserving pan. Peel the bananas, cut them into chunks, and puree them in turn, adding some vinegar to help. Add the puree to the mixture in the pan. Add the remaining vinegar, 4 C of the water, the brown sugar, salt, and hot red pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently. Lower the heat to medium low and cook uncovered 1 1/4 hours, stirring often. If there is a threat of sticking, add some more water, up to 2 C. Add the remaining ingredients, except the rum. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, for 15 minutes longer, or until it is thick enough to coat a metal spoon. To test the consistency further, spoon a little ketchup onto a cold saucer, and let it cool; if no liquid emerges around the dollop,, the ketchup has thickened enough. Puree the ketchup again in a blender or food processor, until it is satin smooth, or force it through a sieve. Rinse out the preserving pan and return the ketchup to it. Taste and correct seasoning, bearing in mind that the aromatic spices will become more intense with time. Bring the ketchup to a boil again over medium heat, stirring constantly. Add the rum. Remove from heat. Ladle the hot ketchup into hot jars, leaving a 1/4 inch headspace. Adjust lids and process 20 minutes in a boiling water bath for pints, 15 minutes for half pints. Theketchup will be ready to serve after 2 weeks, but it will continue to improve in the jar for a month or so. Yields about 7 cups.

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