by Mason Stewart
If you see a long green fruit on the counter of your caribbean grandmother’s, tread softly. This deceptive plant may not be an overly young banana, it may be a plantain. The plantain is a member of the banana family. Plantains are starchy and firm. They have less sugar than bananas that we know, making them less sweet and fruity. This fruit needs to be cooked before eaten and is not suitable to be eaten raw. It is served similar to how potatoes are and is usually prepared by being fried or baked. Plantains are very popular in Western Africa and the Caribbean countries.
Plantains are native to India and are mostly grown in tropical climates. Plantains are sometimes referred to as potatoes of the Caribbean. Plantains are thought of to be vegetables even though they are fruit. Plantains taste very different and are used in different types of dishes based on their ripeness. Under the peel, it stays yellowish and sometimes a light pink. Near the beginning of it’s development, the plantain is very starchy. As it matures into becoming brown or black, it becomes more sweet. Plantains are still a firm fruit when very ripe. The plantain is slightly less moist than the banana. Because of this, bananas are eatable out of the peal unlike its green cousin.
Plantains grow best in constantly warm in temperature areas with protection from overly strong winds. They have been grown in varying locations throughout Florida since the 16th century. Because of the occasional freezes, Florida is considered a perfect area for the growth of plantains. They are available all year round at supermarkets all over Florida.
Many people confuse plantains with bananas, some of the differences have already been met. Although they look a lot like green bananas and are a close relative, plantains are very different. They are starchy, not sweet, and they are used as a vegetable in many recipes, especially in Latin America and Africa. Plantains are sold in the fresh produce section of the supermarket, they usually resemble green bananas; ripe plantains may be black in color. Plantains are longer than bananas and they have thicker skins. They also have natural brown spots and rough areas that should not be worried over. Although the two are different, both are super good to eat!