Orphan Bananas

Bananas can be found hanging on my counter most days of the year. I am a sucker for rescuing the orphan bananas at the store. Why? The “orphan” bananas or loose ones at the store are the first ones to go bad since they ripen much quicker and are most often the ones wasted. For me, when I walk by the single bananas, I can almost hear them singing, Aretha Franklin’s, “Rescue me, oh take me in your arms, Rescue me.” I once I sang a song substituting, “All the single nanas, all the single nanas” to the tune of “All the Single Ladies” at a conference to raise food waste awareness. Trust me, hearing Aretha Franklin’s voice is much better than mine. But either way, be a hero and rescue an orphan banana!

Banana Ginger Chutney
Banana Peel Jerk Chicken and Banana Chutney

So if you start to become a banana super hero like me, you’ll need some extra ways to enjoy bananas. This overripe banana chutney is one because it works with ripe OR overripe bananas. However I choose to enjoy bananas, one thing I always do is save the banana peel for cooking. If you are not going to use the peel right away, simply add a little lemon juice to an airtight container and freeze them for up to a month. I love to wrap chicken tenders or skewers in the peels to cook. The peels keep the chicken nice and moist whether in the oven, on the stove or on the grill. Know what else banana peels can keep moist? Your Sunday roast! Just drop one in the pot along with the roast.

Leftover Banana Chutney
Overripe Banana Chutney

This chutney can be frozen, too. I like to freeze it in ice cube trays before removing to an airtight container, for the perfect serving size of Leftover Banana Chutney. The portions, come in handy, too, when enjoying Trader Joe’s Vegetable Masala Burgers! I also love this chutney served alongside spicy wings, banana peel jerk chicken, Curry Vegetables, black beans and rice, or Coconut Red Beans and Cashew Cakes

Trader Joe's Vegetable Masala Burger with Overripe Banana Chutney
Trader Joe’s Vegetable Masala Burger with Overripe Banana Chutney

Overripe Banana Chutney
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1 cup

Overripe Banana Chutney

*1/2 tsp garam masala can be substituted for cumin. *Save banana peels and use to cook chicken. *Grind lime peel and freeze to use in baking and teas.


  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 shallot, thinly slice
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded, minced
  • 2 ripe or overripe bananas, peeled*, halved lengthwise, and cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp cumin*
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 lime, juiced*


  1. Heat olive oil in a saucepan over a medium heat. Add the shallot, and cook and stir for 1 minutes. Add ground ginger and stir to toast for 1 minutes. Add the bananas, brown sugar, orange juice, vinegar, cumin, cayenne pepper, salt, and black pepper. Stir to combine.
  2. Bring mixture to a boil, lower heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 10 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat. Stir in fresh lime juice.
  4. Best if served at room temperature.
  5. Chill or freeze any leftovers.

Put on Your TO COOK IS TO CREATE Thinking Cap: Chutneys can be so versatile, so adjust spice to your level and make additions to suit your taste. Have other fruit? Add it. When I’m grilling my banana wrapped chicken I grill other fruit, like peaches. I use ground ginger in this recipe, but 1 Tablespoon of fresh ginger can be used. No cumin? Use garam masala, (a little goes a long way) curry powder, ground caraway or coriander. Enjoy dried fruit in chutneys? Add in dried cranberries, cherries, raisins, dates, or prunes. No shallots? No problem, just use onion.

FOOD FUN: Did you know bananas will FLOAT in water because water is denser than bananas. That was my, “learn something new everyday.” I have a feeling I will be using that piece of knowledge to win a bet one day. Thanks National Geographic!

Overripe Banana Chutney
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