By April 13, 2012 Read More →

Monkey Butter Recipe

Somewhere in the middle of winter just passed, I realized that my motivation to can had disappeared.  Since I started canning three years ago, I have built a pantry of more than 2000 jars.  I have meats, veggies, fruits, pickles, whole meals, and of course, jams.  I had so many half pints of jam, that the shelves were sagging, so when Christmas time came, I put festive tags on about 100 jars and set up a “Jam Stand” in the front yard.  I sold every last one.  (The grand kids benefited greatly on Christmas morning!.)

As a result, though, I was left with a gaping hole in my pantry.  In the middle of winter there isn’t a lot of cheap, fresh, perfectly ripe fruit to turn into jams and jellies.

With research, I ran into a recipe for banana/pineapple/coconut jam, called Monkey Butter.  The ingredients are, for the most part, available year-round.  I whipped together a batch, and WOW.  So, I continued making batch after batch, until that gaping hole in the pantry was full to overflowing!  Monkey Butter did one more thing, other than refilling my jam pantry:  It re-ignited the canning flame, and I am back on track!

Hope you will give this a try.  If you are a fan of tropical fruits, it’s a sure-fire winner!

P.S.:  Don’t tell kids that it is made out of actual monkeys.  Just sayin’.


5 medium-size perfectly ripe bananas (no brown spots)
20 oz. can of crushed pineapple, not drained. 
1/4 cup coconut (I prefer ground coconut)
3 cups of white sugar 
3 Tbsp lemon juice (use bottled for uniform acidity)

Peel and slice bananas, then add all ingredients to a heavy saucepan.

Bring to a boil, stirring often, and then reduce to a simmer. Cook until thick.  As the mixture thickens, stir constantly until desired thickness is achieved.
When thick, spoon mixture immediately into hot sterilized jars, apply heated lids and rings, and process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes.

Other fruits can be added, particularly topical fruits such as mango (pictured on the left below.)  Also, it is common for the butter to take on a light pink hue when processed.  The sample on the right below was not processed, but just stored in the fridge…which I started to do once it became clear that this ambrosia doesn’t hang around long enough to require canning!)



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106 Comments on "Monkey Butter Recipe"

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  1. Kris Watson says:

    Sorry that the picture does not match the last paragraph. I am not a very good photographer, and the picture the editor substituted is MUCH better!

  2. Cheryl says:

    looks delicious,,going to try this recipe…

  3. cheryl kerspilo says:

    If you arent of coconut can you leave it out or use something else in its place?

  4. Barb Poposky says:

    How many jars does each batch make?
    Are you able to grind flaked coconut in the food processor to make the ground coconut?

    • Kris Watson says:

      About five half pints, depending upon how thick you like it! I buy the coconut ground at Winco discount supermarket in the bulk area. It isn’t a requirement, just the way I like it. Not fond of that ACK ACK noise I make when a flake gets caught in my throat! LOL

  5. sheena says:

    My questions are: can you use shredded coconut either sweetened or not? And, do you use mango instead of banana or in addition to?

    Thànk you! 

    • Kris Watson says:

      I use unsweetened because of the high sugar content. Not that would make an eyelash difference, in the end! It’s like having a double bacon cheeseburger and a diet Coke!

      I add mango to the recipe, not a substitution. The color is beautiful.

  6. Jeanette says:

    What do you serve this on? Ideas? Sounds Great!

    • Kris Watson says:

      You aren’t supposed to eat it out of the jar? LOL

      Peanut butter sandwiches are a favorite of my grandchildren. I like sourdough English muffins or a coarse whole grain bread with a lot of texture.

  7. Helen MacAndrew says:

    I am wondering about adding other fruits..could you sub a different fruit?? I was wondering about peaches instead of pineapple…or would I have a pectin problem??
    P.S. I ask mainly because I can’t handle citrus.

    • Kris Watson says:

      My six year old granddaughter can’t handle it either, she breaks out in a rash if she drinks OJ, for example. But this doesn’t bother her at all. But don’t take that as gospel!

      I think if you changed the ingredients that much you might need a different recipe. Maybe you could switch mango and papaya, just to keep the tropical flavor.

  8. laurielipsit says:

    i don’t usually use pectin when making a butter-does this recipe require it to keep the trop. fruit from browning? i, too was wondering about the coconut. how much does it yield? i’ll bet it’s a yummy ice cream topping!

    • Kris Watson says:

      No, it doesn’t. There is lemon juice which helps the bananas from darkening, but the heat from processing does turn it a light pink. The batches I just keep in the fridge stay yellow. It makes about five half pints, depending upon the size of your bananas. I am going to have to buy some ice cream and try your suggestion!!!

  9. scout1881 says:

    This recipe looks so great I cant wait to try it. I am curious to see how it comes out, I imagine it would be great on pancakes, or a nice corn muffin. yum

    • Kris Watson says:

      Oh man, now I am going to have to make pancakes in the morning! Poor me! LOL It might be gilding the lily, but I make banana pancakes for my grandkids. Probably too much banana. Whole wheat with wheat berries, now that sounds amazing.

  10. Mike F Di says:

    Hmmm how do you milk a monkey??

  11. The the newly manufactured magnificent monkey milker of course.

  12. AWESOME recipe! Thanks for sharing! Bananas are a migraine headache trigger for me – but my hubby loves them and has no problems with them. I think I will make a batch of this for him. Thanks again. Great article!

  13. Kris Watson says:

    What a wonderful wife!

  14. I got five cups when I made it, just this afternoon. It was so yummy, I can’t wait to share it with my kids when they get home! 

  15. Crystal says:

    Could you make the butter and freeze it?  I don’t have the necessary equipment for canning, but I make jams and jellies and freeze them all the time.

    • Kris Watson says:

      Why not !!! There’s nothing in it that can’t be frozen.. I keep it in Gladware in the fridge. It kinda disappears quickly !

    • Alisha says:

      Actually, freezing this would be your only safe option to keep it for long.  Bananas are not safe to can, not shelf stable.  Home canners cannot get hot enough to penetrate the banana and kill all bacteria.  Please do not can this!

      • Well, I wonder why you couldn’t safely can this. Most fruits aren’t shelf stable, that’s why we can them. In small jars, processed for 15 mins as she states, I can’t see how they could not get hot enough. I’m really wondering about this. I’ll have to look into this further. Is this just something about bananas? Peaches and other fruits are quite dense and I can them all the time. This has me puzzled.

        • Lisa Wallace says:

          I hav successfully canned bananas, not sure where you got the idea that you couldn’t. I mashed ’em, got them hot in a sauce pan like any other jelly and pressure canned. (think there was some lemon juice added for colot) A pint jar of canned bananas is exactly the right amount for 2 loaves of my recipe for banana bread.
          Also, they make baby food bananas that are ‘canned” in jars, so even TPTB must think it’s safe.

  16. Hugh Vail says:

    TOTALLY making this!

  17. Kris gave me a jar of monkey butter last month and I can tell you it’s one of my favorite jams ever! I can put it on a piece of toast, just scoop out a spoonful to eat straight if I have a sweets craving, or like today, we added a scoop to our fruit smoothies that we made with fresh oranges, canned nectarines, and ice.

  18. Lolly says:

    I am anxious to try this recipe, and I am wondering if I can substitute Splenda for the sugar.As a Weight Watcher I’m trying to adjust this recipe to the Points system, per tbsp if possible.

    • Kris Watson says:

      Sorry Lolly, I missed your comment. I answered below that I have never used Splenda, so I can’t speak to its results. But if you wanted to try making the Monkey Butter with Mrs. Wages light pectin, there are instructions in the package for making jams with no sugar or with sweetener. Pectin would make this pretty thick, but if you want low or no sugar, that’s the way to go.

  19. Stephanie says:

    Thanks so much for this wonderful recipe! I am planning on making this tonight and my family is so excited! I am a beginner to canning and this will be my first canning attempt. I cannot think of of a better recipe to make for my first time canning! :-)

  20. Sheri says:

    Could fresh pineapple be used instead of canned?

    • Kris Watson says:

      I have never tried it with fresh because it is too expensive for my Extreme Frugality lifestyle. If you try it, will you let me know how it turns out?

      • Becky Young says:

        Fresh pineapple has something in it that makes jello not jell so not sure if the same would happen with butters. I want to say it is called Bromolin, not sure. A can of pineapple would be much cheaper than a whole pineapple.

  21. How many jars does it make?  And of what size?  Thx so much!

  22. Melissa says:

    Could I us splenda  in place of sugar?

    • Kris Watson says:

      I have never tried it with Splenda. Do you have experience with using Splenda with other jams? This recipe does not require pectin, but you certaily could try Mrs. Wages pectin with Splenda. I love that brand. I have had very intermittent success with Ball pectin.

  23. Kirsten says:

    I made this today – love the flavours, but it was awfully sweet. Does anybody know the consequences of cutting the sugar in half (or more)? Would I need to add pectin to compensate?

    • Kris Watson says:

      It is sweet, I know…bananas are one of the highest sugar content fruits. Seems wierd! As far as adding the sugar, it helps thicken the end product. As I just mentioned above, experiment with less sugar and some Mrs. Wages lite pectin. You never know !!!!

  24. cindy says:

    Sounds great! You said you have canned 1000 jars of goodies…how long can you store an item you have canned? I have jam I canned 2 years ago and thought I would need to give them away or throw them away (which I definitely don’t want to do)…

    • Kris Watson says:

      Cindy, this is my hot button issue. Not long ago, I heard from a lady who was sobbing because it was the day before her home canned foods “expired” and she was going to throw them all out. I don’t want to come across badly, but if anyone tells you that your food will go bad one year from canning date, they are wrong. The truth is that food in jars starts to lose minimal texture or nutrition at one year. The food does NOT become poisonous or inedible. Far from it. I have taught canning for many years, and what I tell my students is what I learned by doing extensive research. And I mean extensive! The only source I did NOT use is the FDA. I do not trust the government to tell me what to eat.

      I am going to attempt to copy and paste an excerpt from my canning class syllabus here and see if it helps you:
      How long food will last on the shelf is the question of the ages when it comes to food storage. The answer is: It depends. And it depends upon the environment in which the jars are kept. We strive for dark and cool to cold. In our area, that’s not an easy find. The colder the temperature at which the food is kept, the longer it will last. Ideal temperature is 40 degrees.

      The attorneys for the FDA have told us that our canned food is good for one year. That is ridiculous.
      In 1820, adventurer and explorer William Perry (Parry) took an expedition in search of the Northwest Passage, toward the North Pole. He took with him some canned meats. At the time, food canning was about a 10-year-old technology.
      At least one can of meat was not used and wound up in a museum in England. In 1938, it was opened and found to be edible. It was fed to a cat which suffered no ill effects from eating the 118-year-old meat.
      Notice that the food was “edible”. That does not speak to its texture or nutritional value. It simply means that a cat did not die. Animals are susceptible to botulism, so we can say with authority that after 118 years, this jar of meat had not been infected.

      Stories of eating canned foods that are 80 to 100 years old are common. But let’s be practical. We want to know how long the food WE can will be safe, flavorful and nutritionally intact.

      The best science that we have tells us that at five years from canning date, under “ideal conditions” nonacid foods will nutritionally degrade less than 3%, and that rate will continue, so that there will be absolutely no nutritional value in canned foods after 167 years. I am not sure I want to eat that jarred meat loaf !

      I reasonably expect that the food I can today will be consumed within ten years. I expect it to be flavorful, nutritious, and have excellent texture. My research has shown that 20 to 30 year shelf life is common if the jars are kept at +/- 40 degrees. (Root cellar or basement storage) At 80 degrees, which is more reasonable for us at least half of the year, that is cut in half.

  25. Kris Watson says:

    PS: Tonight I made a peach cobbler with fruit that was canned in 2009. It was perfect. If your seals are tight and you followed the canning rules, one year old food is perfectly fine. Please do not throw it away. You don’t have to be afraid of your food.

    • Kris Watson says:

      Sorry, TWO year old food….

    • When clearing off shelves just recently I came across pears and plums that were canned in 2007 and 2008. I threw them into our smoothies and they tasted great. Perhaps you won’t get all the nutrients but there’s got to still be some nutrition left. I don’t think we have anything more than two or three years old now.

  26. Jen says:

    How long can you keep it in the pantry?

    • Kris Watson says:

      Again, my hot button is shelf life. I have addressed it in another comment, but here I will just say that any jar of food will have longer shelf life depending upon the temperature in which it is stored. At 70 to 80 degrees, I would expect jam to last more than five years. Others will disagree.

  27. Sheila says:

    Made this today and slathered it all over the bread I made this morning and it was YUMMY! THank you so much for sharing 😀

  28. John Morgan says:

    Is there an alternative to White Sugar for those who cannot use it?

  29. jason m says:

    what is meant by processing in boiling water exactly? i’m new to this, and i don’t know squat about canning!

    • Kris Watson says:

      For safety’s sake, until you have learned how to process using boiling water bath, please refrigerate your jam. is an excellent site to visit if you are interested in learning how to can.

    • Becky B says:

      Hi; First your water must be close to boiling when you place your jars into the water on a special rack that comes a water bath canner. You can find them in KMart, WalMart, or your local grocery store when canning time is close. Now would be a great time, you will also find the necessary equipment for removing your hot jars once they process. Read the section that you are interested in canning. 1) when preparing to can make sure your jars are clean, place in a pot with water covering over the top of the jars, keep the water hot- leaving on the stove, check the jars for any cracks or chips before you place them into you water-if cracked or chip do not use, send the jars to the recycle bin. 2) lids go into another pot of hot water on the stove to keep the rub gasgets soft, make sure the lids do not stack together can damage the rubber gasgets or they can stick together. 3) set the hot jars on clean dry kitchen towels to protect the hot glass as you fill the jars with a funnel-place clean lid on with ring, do not over tighten the rings before you place in the wire basket when filled, place the jars into the hot water when it starts to boil start your time. After processing remove the jars with a jar lifter place on another clean dry towel to cool down if they process correctly the lids will start popping. When they have totally cooled down “check the next day” you can remove the rings. Mark the contents of what you processed and a date. Have a great time canning.

  30. Julia Lynn says:

    This sounds so yummy! I was wondering if you think it would taste good as the filling in a coconut cake?

    • Kris Watson says:

      Oh now you have done it ! I am going to have to try that….!!! I might leave the coconut out of the jam if you are going to also have a coconut cake. Man, I want to go to the store !!!!

  31. Kathy Thomas says:

    Could you tell me if you use pineapple with heavy suryp or juice? if suryp is used do you cut down the sugar!!?? I got all the stuff to make it tomorrow now i’m not sure!!

    Thanks Kathy

  32. Kris Watson says:

    Kathy, I use pineapple with juice. If you have it with syrup, realize that it’s not that much liquid and adjust your sugar if you want to. I don’t think it would make enough difference to matter. Sugar is part of what thickens the jam, as there is no pectin. So if you cut it down, it will take longer to cook. I just made strawberry jam the other day and it called for seven cups of sugar for six cups of berries. Trying to cut that back (no pectin) made syrup. So, I don’t alter the ingredients. I just use less of the jam if I am concerned about the sugar.

  33. Calchick says:

    Just wondering if you have had any batches turn brown on top in the jars? I made banana Jam once and the whole batch after canning turned a weird brown on top, may have been good still but didn’t take the chance tossed them all.

  34. thanks for the add friend !!!!!

  35. thanks for the add :)

  36. CAROL says:

    This looks and sounds wonderful ! How much mango would you add to the reciepe? Thank you so ever much. Carol.

    • Kris Watson says:

      Carol: Thank you ! It is such a yummy jam….

      When I added mango, I just added the flesh of one piece of fruit. I had to cook it longer to get it the right consistency, but that wasn’t a big deal, because it was awesome!

  37. Holly R says:

    I just made it and got 6 half pints out of it (and a cpl Tbsp for quality control) 
    LOVE IT!!!

  38. Todd Meyer says:

    sounds good have to try and make that

  39. Angel says:

    Made this today,The recipe made 6 half pints and it is soooooo good !!
    I am inspired to can again,my first canning of the year and cant wait to pick strawberries for more ,thank you !

  40. I am going to try this one too.

  41. Keith Ford says:

    Just to pass the word, Blake Holliday has released his Kindle booklet “My Fruit Press” on Amazon for free downloading till friday night, it tells how he built a juice press from items most folks have around their house.

  42. Sounds yummy! I think my little monkeys will appreciate it.

  43. Toshia Yates says:

    Just made this and am waiting for it to cool to eat as a filling in a cupcake. Super excited!

  44. Tracy says:

    I’m not very domestic. Please would you sell me a jar? I’m really very serious. I don’t want to go out and buy all the equipment unless I know that I love the jam. You have my email, right? Can we talk?

  45. Cheryl Holland says:

    This is my first try at monkey butter. My question is whether or not you should have chunks of bananas after you have thickenend the ingredients to pour into the jars.

    • Kris Watson says:

      I keep it smooth, because I am concerned about the heat penetrating a chunk. It keeps a very long time in the fridge, and I am eating some that I canned from a year ago and it is fine.

  46. Monica says:

    How long is the shelf life on this? And what do you use for coconut? Shavings, flakes, cream, milk, water? Thanks so much I’m excited to know!

    • Kris Watson says:

      I use ground coconut because it is available in bullk at the store. Use whatever form of coconut you like, except liquid. You could even add 1/2 tsp coconut flavoring instead of the dry coconut if you aren’t supposed to eat coconut because of diverticulitis.

      I have just opened a jar from more than a year ago, and it is perfect. I have been canning a long, long time and I have no qualms about eating jams that are even ten years old. If you are not up for that, it is fine to keep the jam in any kind of container in the fridge. It may grow mold after two years or so. The sugar preserves it beautifully.

  47. Sounds good Im going to have to try this, but tell kids its made from real monkeys :)

  48. thank’s for long is the shelf life?

    • Kris Watson says:

      I am tempted to say “forever”. If you believe the food police, you have to throw everything out after exactly 365 days or you will die. The truth is, if you use correct canning techniques, store the food in a cool, dark place, and the seal remains intact, any canned food will last many years. In fact, there were cans of food opened from a mountain climbing expedition something like 135 years later, while it had no color or nutrition and the texture had deteriorated, it was not poisoned.
      I would suggest you use your judgement.

  49. this looks great! Will definitely give it a try.

  50. Bananas are NOT recommended to be canned. They are so dense there is no guarantee that a safe temp is reached in the center. I would either freeze this recipe or make it for the fridge in small batches. Botulism is rare but deadly and crippling when it does strike, even with modern medicine readily available.

  51. We make one batch at a time and it makes about 3 jars. It disapears so quick it is funny.

  52. Made my first batch tonight. Can’t wait to use it for a cupcake filling topped with cream cheese frosting!

  53. In your recipe you said to process jars in a boiling bath for 15 minutes. Isn’t that canning. The recipe has bananas in it. Confused???

  54. Hi, this recipe sounds amazing. I would like to make this as a Christmas gift but I have never made jam before. I am wondering how long you can keep it in the fridge if you do not process it? Will it only last a week or so or will it last for a few months? I am not keen on doing the processing part as I have not done it before and do not have any special equipment.

  55. Betty Paulus says:

    My neighbor brought me a jar of Monkey Butter a couple months ago and I just opened it..WOW what a great surprise. DELICIOUS!!! I plan on making some this weekend and give out for Christmas gifts along with a quart of my apple pie filling~~~

  56. Carli says:

    Where did Kris go!  I was a regular follower of her blog, went to the link in my favorites bar and her blog is no longer!!   If you know of a new web address for her…please share!

  57. Billie Owens says:

    When you say no brown spots, do you mean on the inside or the outside of the banana?

  58. Manu says:

    this looks great! let me give it a try.

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