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What Are Plantains?

Know Your Ingredients: Plantains

When your palate needs a breather from Winter squash and root vegetables, consider another starchy fruit that's available year-round: plantains. Plantains belong to the banana family but tend to be firmer, starchier, and less sweet than the "dessert" bananas that we're used to.

These potato-like fruits are a fixture in South and Central America, as well as other tropical areas. They are longer, thicker, and more bland in flavor compared to the standard sweet banana — and, unlike dessert bananas, plantains must be cooked before they are consumed.

At their green and yellow stages, plantains are often used in savory dishes and frying, baking, and boiling are only a few of the ways in which they may be prepared. The fruits are also utilized at their ripest color, black, when they are used in sweeter dishes.

Plantain lovers: what are your favorite ways to incorporate the fruit into your cooking?

Join The Conversation
PinkUnicorn PinkUnicorn 7 years
Mmmmmm if they aren't very ripe, then tostones, and nice black ones fry up soooooo good and are delicious with black beans, eggs, queso and sour cream.
darc5204 darc5204 7 years
my boyfriend occasionally makes lentils with plantain. It's very hearty & filling, and completely delicious.
Gabriela14815884 Gabriela14815884 7 years
LOVE platanos :) I usually make tostones out of them but I also like to make mangu - which is mashed plantains w/ garlic & olive oil usually made for breakfast and its served with eggs, onions, cheese & salami - yum-o!
Fashion Fashion 7 years
Plantains con queso! ;)
x3Lorelei x3Lorelei 7 years
I freakin love plantain chips!!! But I can never seem to find them in the store anymore :(
GummiBears GummiBears 7 years
I, well my mother makes them as accompaniment to breakfast. Like home fries to eggs and some kind of meat, instead we eat it with scrambled eggs, some sauteed vegetables and fried plaintains. You can also eat it with jollof rice, or she used to make something similar to monfongo [sic] except with different spices. Basically treat it like potatoes.
tlsgirl tlsgirl 7 years
I like fried plantains, but my fave recipe is for vegetarian empanadas with plaintains, black beans, and queso fresco. Yum!
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