Due to the way plantains are used, you may be wondering if they’re not undercover vegetables. Well, as it turns out we’ve got a story for you.
Plantains are similar to bananas, and some folks even believe that “plantain” is another name for bananas. These two are different (yet related) species and are used very differently.
Plantains are one of the most interesting foods you can have. Although they closely resemble bananas, they’re nowhere close to them in terms of taste, texture, and of course, the usage.
Is plantain a fruit or a vegetable?
The plantain is essentially a fruit. It belongs to the family of bananas, specifically the Musa genus. However, it is mostly used as a vegetable because of its higher starch content and low sugar.
The best part is, that plantains can be used in all their forms. You don’t have to wait until they become ripe to eat them. They are usually found in green and yellow colors.
Out of these, the green ones are raw and are mostly used after boiling and frying. The yellow ones are the ripe fruits used for making chips, stir-fries, and a wide variety of side dishes.
When they turn almost black, they become soft and sweet. You can eat them on their own at this stage.
Why are plantains used as vegetables?
Despite not being an actual vegetable, plantains are used just like a vegetable. They’re a lot like potatoes, in a way. Boil them, mash them, fry them, make chips, whatever you like.
The main reason is the high starch content, paired with very low sugar content. The only time plantains are sweet is when they’re black and starting to soften.
Plantains are a staple in savory dishes in the Caribbeans, and Central and South America. If you’ve ever visited one of these regions, you’ll know their cuisine is vastly different from Western and American cuisine.
It’s exotic and spicy and something to try when you get the chance. While they do have a lot of vegetables of their own, they incorporate a lot of fruit into their dishes.
Where do plantains come from?
Plantains are native to Southeast Asia. These are tropical fruits that are most popular in the Philippines, Thailand, and other Southeast countries.
But the great news is, they can be found all over the world and throughout the year. These are one of the most essential food items in the Caribbean kitchens and are also known in the Southern states of the USA.
Each batch of plantain has its exporting country printed on the box. The main exporter in Ecuador, while the top producer in Cameroon.
What does a plantain taste like?
As we already discussed, plantains don’t taste like bananas at all. They are not even peeled that easily.
They are starchy and mildly sweet, just like sweet potatoes, and can’t be eaten raw in their green and yellow stage. But when their skin turns almost black, you can enjoy them as a delicious, smooth, and sweet dessert.
The taste of green and yellow plantains is slightly firm and bland, mostly used for making chips and fried wedges.
These snacks have a similar texture and taste to potato chips and fries. These snacks are seasoned using a wide range of spices and condiments like garlic powder, Italian herbs, pepper, salt, cinnamon, etc.
How to know if plantain is ripe
There is another popular misconception that a plantain that has turned black has gone bad and can’t be eaten. But the truth is, it is a ripe plantain that tastes extremely sweet and delicious.
Although it is not that easy to peel even at this stage, it is comparatively easier than peeling a yellow or green plantain. So, if your plantain has turned black, don’t throw it in the trash. Enjoy it on your own.
Also, you can’t find these at the grocery stores. You will only get green and sometimes yellow plantain. But the good thing is, you can ripe the yellow ones very easily at home.
All you need to do is, throw them in a paper bag and leave them at room temperature. They will become soft and ready to eat in a couple of weeks. You can also speed up the ripening process by keeping them in sunlight.
How to cook plantains
There are a lot of things you can do with your plantains. They can be fried, broiled, grilled, and roasted.
You can slice and add them directly to your curries and stews. The boiled and mashed plantains can be used as baby food and can also be given to the elderly.
But the most popular and loved form of plantains is their fried chips. These lip-smacking chips are popular all over the world. They even taste better than the mainstream potato chips.
Here are some great ways to cook all kinds of plantain.
1. Boil green plantains
To boil the green plantains, wash them nicely and peel them. Peeling them is a bit hard because they are in their unripe form. Chop their ends and cut them into thick slices.
Now, boil them in slightly salted water for about 30 minutes or until they become tender. Once done, remove them from heat and then peel them. This way, you can peel them easily.
You can use the boiled plantain in salads, snacks, curries, soups, and stews. Just add some basic spices and drizzle lemon juice over the top to make a healthy and yummy snack. You can also have them in your breakfast alongside some omelets.
2. Fry the yellow plantains
This is perhaps the best way to eat plantains. For this, wash and peel them using a sharp knife.
Now, thinly slice them either lengthwise or into round discs. Heat some vegetable oil and fry them until they’re crisp and golden.
Drain the excess oil on the kitchen towel and toss them with some salt, pepper, and garlic powder, and your chips are ready to eat.
You can also store them in airtight containers for up to 3-4 days.
3. Add the overripe plantains to your smoothies /pancake mix
When your plantains have turned black, and you’re in no mood of eating them, throw them in your smoothies. They will result in a thick, creamy, sweet, and tasty smoothie.
You can also make scrumptious plantain pancakes. Just mash them using a fork before adding them to your pancake mix.
Plantains are a type of banana that has been cultivated for thousands of years. They are native to tropical climates around the world and are often used as an alternative to potatoes.
Plantains are an ancient banana variety that has been grown for thousands of years. They are native to tropical regions and are widely consumed in Africa, Asia, and Latin America as a staple meal. They are well-known fruits. They’re also known as "poor man’s bananas" due to their low cost and high nutritional value.
Fiber, potassium, vitamin C, and iron are all abundant in plantains. They have less sugar and fewer calories than other banana varieties. Plantains are one of the most widely cultivated fruits on the planet. It may be found growing wild in Central and South America, although it was domesticated about 5,000 years ago by African farmers. Because of its affordability and nutritional content, the apple became popular among European settlers throughout colonial times.
You might be wondering whether plantains aren’t truly hidden veggies because of how they’re utilized. As it turns out, we have a tale to tell you. Plantains are related to bananas, and some people mistakenly assume that "plantain" is a synonym for "banana." In truth, these two species are distinct (but related) and are employed in quite different ways. Plantains are one of the most unique meals available. Although they resemble bananas in appearance, they are nothing like them in terms of taste, texture, and, of course, usage.
Plantains are essentially fruits. It is a member of the banana family, especially the Musa genus. However, due to its high starch level and low sugar content, it is mostly consumed as a vegetable.
The nice aspect is that plantains may be prepared in a variety of ways. You don’t have to wait for them to ripen before eating them. Green and yellow are the most common hues. The green ones are uncooked, and they’re usually utilized after boiling and frying. The yellow ones are ripe fruits that may be used to make chips, stir-fries, and a variety of side dishes.
The answer depends upon your perspective. If you consider yourself a foodie who loves eating healthy foods, then plantains can definitely be considered a fruit. However, if you prefer not to eat any vegetables at all, then plantains should probably remain classified as a veggie.
In reality, there isn’t much difference between a fruit and a vegetable when it comes to nutrition. Both contain carbohydrates, protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals, fats, and water.
There are several reasons why plantains are commonly eaten as vegetables rather than fruits. First off, they are starchy and sweet.
This means that they require cooking prior to consumption. Secondly, they lack the sweetness associated with many fruits. Thirdly, they tend to be more fibrous than other types of bananas. Lastly, they are generally smaller than other bananas. These factors combine to create a dish that resembles a mashed potato. Plantains are utilized as if they were vegetables, despite the fact that they are not. In several ways, they resemble potatoes. Whatever you want to do with them: boil them, mash them, fry them, make chips out of them.
The high starch level combined with the low sugar content is the major cause. Plantains are only delicious when they’re dark and beginning to soften. Plantains are a common ingredient in savory recipes across the Caribbean, Central America, and South America. If you’ve ever visited one of these places, you’ll know that the cuisine there is very different from that of Western and American cuisine.
Plantains originate from tropical regions around the world. They grow best in warm climates where temperatures range from 70°F to 90°F. This includes areas such as Africa, Asia, Australia, and parts of Latin America.
They also thrive in humid conditions. For example, they flourish in Southeast Asian countries including Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Philippines, Brunei Darussalam, Singapore, Papua New Guinea, East Timor, and even India.
Plantains are a Southeast Asian delicacy. The Philippines, Thailand, and other Southeast Asian countries are known for their tropical fruits.
The good news is that they can be found all over the world and at all times of the year. These are some of the most important foods in Caribbean kitchens, as well as in the southern states of the United States. The exporting nation of each batch of plantains is indicated on the package. Ecuador is the leading exporter, whereas Cameroon is the leading producer.
Plantains, as previously said, do not taste like bananas. In fact, peeling them is a difficult task.
They’re starchy and somewhat sweet, like sweet potatoes, but they can’t be eaten uncooked when they’re green or yellow. However, once their skin has become nearly black, you may eat them as a delectable, smooth, and sweet dessert. Green and yellow plantains have a slightly firm and bland flavor and are commonly used to make chips and fried wedges.
These snacks have a texture and flavor that is comparable to potato chips and fries. Garlic powder, Italian herbs, pepper, salt, cinnamon, and other spices and condiments are used to season these treats.
In addition to being tasty, plantains are nutritious. They contain vitamins C and B6, potassium, iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, copper, manganese, selenium, niacin, riboflavin, thiamine, folate, pantothenic acid, vitamin K, biotin, folic acid, choline, and fiber.
If it’s too hard to peel, then it isn’t ready yet. It should feel soft enough so that you could easily roll it into balls without breaking its skin. You don’t need to worry about bruising because this fruit doesn’t bruise easily.
When you get your hands on fresh plantain, cut off both ends first before slicing it lengthwise down the middle. Then slice it crosswise into thin slices. Another common myth is that if a plantain becomes black, it has gone rotten and cannot be eaten. However, the fact is that it is a ripe plantain that is incredibly sweet and tasty.
Even while peeling is difficult at this stage, it is far easier than peeling a yellow or green plantain. Don’t toss your plantain in the garbage if it has gone black. It’s great on its own. Also, they are not available at supermarkets. Plantain comes in only two colors: green and yellow. The good news is that you can easily ripen the yellow ones at home.
In conclusion, we hope that our article helped you understand what exactly is plantain and everything related to that and all your food curiosities about plantain have been resolved by me.