Is this recipe safe to water bath?

Asked September 10, 2020, 1:11 PM EDT

I know bananas are considered a border line fruit at 4.6, but if a recipe mixes them with very acidic pineapple and lemon juice, and cooks them until smooth, would the acid level be considered safe to process in a water bath for 15 minutes for pantry storage? I know adding lemon juice, vinegar and similar to tomatoes or other low acid foods makes it safe to water bath, but have read for hours conflicting information and views on bananas. Thank you.

Prince George's County Maryland

1 Response

Hi and thank you for your question.

Surprisingly bananas are really acidic, with a pH range of 4.50 to 5.20 (https://www.clemson.edu/extension/food/food2market/documents/ph_of_common_foods.pdf).

Our food preservation website will have information as well as upcoming free webinars on canning for this year: https://extension.umd.edu/foodpreservation, and the National Center for Home Food Preservation website may be useful for future reference: https://nchfp.uga.edu/ and the USDA guides https://nchfp.uga.edu/publications/publications_usda.html

As to the recipe you described, right now the resources from the National Center for Home Food Preservation and the USDA's Complete Guide to Home Food Preservation don't list anything similar for canning as a consistent and safe method. However, if this is something you'd like to pursue, I'd recommend looking at Virginia Tech's Food Innovation Program https://ext.vt.edu/food-health/food-innovations.html and review the information under "Request Evaluation." For a fee, they can scientifically validate that the recipe you want to create will be safe and of quality.

Please let me know if you have any additional questions. Last year I worked with someone who sent a family recipe for a similar product to Virginia Tech, so they had confidence the product would be safe and of good quality when given to friends and family as gifts.