What is plantain?
These tropical mainstays look like oversize bananas and taste a bit like them, too. But plantains (which can be pronounced plan-tins or plan-tanes), or plátanos machos in Spanish, are like three fruits in one because they can be eaten at three distinct stages of ripeness, each with a different texture and flavor. Unripe, with green peels, they’re firm and starchy with a potato-like flavor that has subtle banana and peanut notes.When the peels are yellow with brown spots, they’re partially ripe and slightly softer, with a delicately sweet flavor that’s a mix between banana and butternut squash. And in their ripest state, when their peels are dark brown or black, they have a creamy texture and a buttery taste. This diversity makes these so-called cooking bananas a favorite in hot climates around the world.
How to choose plantains
Plantains are available year-round in Latin, Caribbean, Asian, and African markets, in addition to well-stocked grocery stores. Select those with the fewest blemishes and no mold on the peels, which should be firm and give only slightly under pressure at any stage of ripeness.
How to prep plantains ?
Before they ripen fully, plantains can be difficult to peel. The easiest way is to slice off both ends, then score along the bulging seam. Gently pry open the slit and slide your fingers under the peel to remove it.
How to preserve plantains ?
To preserve plantains at a desired stage of ripeness, peel them and freeze them whole, well wrapped in plastic.
How to store plantains?
Plantains should be stored at room temperature out of direct light. Green ones will ripen to dark brown or black in two to three weeks. Once completely ripe, they can remain at room temperature for three to five days.
Available at Afritibi market …