The origin of plantains is thought to be in Southeast Asia. It is believed that the French plantain and the horn plantain share a common ancestor. Both of these types of plantains belong to the genus Plantago. They can be found in their respective habitats in tropical America, Africa, Egypt, and India. French plantains are found in both Indonesia and the Pacific Islands. Plantains are used extensively in Uganda and Tanzania, especially in the country’s central and eastern regions, as a staple crop for brewing beer. Plantains comprise approximately 85% of the total banana cultivation worldwide.
Plantains are enormous herbs that develop from a thick rhizome that lies dormant in the earth. Most species grow to a height of 3–10 m (10–33 ft), with a fake “trunk” made of the sheaths of their long, spiraling leaves. The fruit is characterized by its green to brown-yellow color and is usually larger than the average banana. It is commonly found in clusters.
What are the health benefits of plantain?
Most people’s assumptions about the role of carbohydrates in weight gain and maintenance are incorrect. Plantains are a good source of complex carbohydrates like fiber and starch.
Simple carbohydrates found in processed meals are quickly absorbed into the bloodstream, while fiber and complex carbohydrates take longer to digest. They help you feel full for longer after eating, which may lead to reduced consumption of unhealthy snacks.
High levels of antioxidants
One cup of plantains has a lot of vitamin C, almost as much as an orange. This vitamin has antioxidant properties and may improve immunity.
Because of its antioxidant properties, it may help prevent the aging, cardiovascular disease, and possibly even cancer that result from free radical damage.
Vitamin C use has been shown to reduce the risks of several different cancers, including those of the breast, colon, lung, esophagus, and stomach.
The levels of vitamin C in the plasma of people who have cancer are lower, too.
Good digestive health
Fiber is crucial because it aids in maintaining regular bowel movements. The bulk and weight of your stool improve with the addition of fiber.
Constipation can be avoided with the help of bulky stools.
Hemorrhoids and the diverticular illness that causes tiny pouches in the large intestine may be avoided by eating a high-fiber diet. As an added bonus, fiber may aid in cholesterol management and contribute to satiety.
Healthy for the heart
Plantains have a lot of potassium, which is good for your heart and blood pressure because it helps your body retain the fluids in your cells.
Plantains are good for your heart because the fiber in them helps reduce cholesterol.
They’re good for the immune system.
Plantains are rich in vitamin C, and as part of a balanced diet, they can help keep your immune system strong.
Vitamin C, however, degrades when exposed to heat or light. Therefore, when preparing plantains, it is important to use as little water as possible that is not boiling and to cook them for a very brief amount of time.
Vitamin A can also be found in plantains. One study from 2018 found that vitamin A has anti-inflammatory and immune-regulating properties.
How do I peel plantains?
Plantains are not as easy to peel as bananas. For the most part, when it’s green. How about we peel a green plantain?
To prepare a plantain, you’ll need a paring knife.
To begin, trim the plantain’s ends. Score the skin, being careful not to pierce the flesh. Follow the “seams” of the plantain and do this four times.
Then, insert the knife’s blade into each of the “slices” and lift up the skin. Don’t slice the plantain itself if at all possible.
Once a large piece of the peel has been removed, the remaining skin can be removed by lifting it and sliding your fingers under it. It will peel off in four complete sections. If this is your first time, take it slow; it can get ugly and painful under the nails if you use them. If you find that you can’t pry it open with your fingers, try prying it open with the knife once again.
Your plantains are now ready to eat.
The skin of a ripe plantain turns leathery, making it as challenging to peel as a banana. Following the same steps will work just as well with a ripe one as they would with a green one.
How do I know if a plantain is ripe?
When is a plantain ripe, and how do you tell? Even though ripe plantains are delicious, many people throw them away because they fear they’ve gone bad. When a plantain is at its peak, it will be largely black with a few yellow spots and will still feel a bit firm when squeezed, much like a ripe peach. Plantains that have turned entirely black are still edible, but they are too soft to work with. But even so, they’re a tasty treat.
It’s not easy to locate perfectly ripe ones in the supermarket. Usually, you have to buy plantains green and let them ripen in the store. They can ripen in as little as a few days or as much as a week, depending on the season and the weather. Your best hope for finding ripe plantains is probably an Asian or Latin grocery store.
How do I eat a plantain?
“How not to eat a plantain” ought to be the real question. Plantains can be eaten in a variety of forms, depending on their degree of ripeness. For this reason, many refer to it as “the incredible edible plantain.”
Green or ripe, frying plantains is the quickest and easiest way to eat them. Green plantains have a high starch content, making them ideal for making tostones (a type of twice-fried plantain). You may also make chips by slicing them thinly and frying them. Starches transform into sugars as fruits ripen, and when fried, those sugars caramelize to provide a deliciously crunchy exterior.
What do plantains taste like?
Many people have described the flavor as “heavenly.” Tostones, which resemble French fries but are crispier on the outside, are a fan favorite. Fry sauce is often used as a dipping condiment for tostones.
Plantains, when ripe, taste sweet like bananas but have none of the banana flavor. Raw ones are fine, but fried ones are much better. Like pancakes browned on the outside with butter, the edges brown and crisp up. I really like those corners. I find that beans and rice go very well with fried sweet plantains.
Crispy plantain chips are an excellent munchie. You can’t go wrong with a cold Malta and some plantain chips. The ultimate nibble
You should try your hand at cooking plantain chips, so get some plantains. You can season your chips with garlic, but a dash of salt, chili powder, lime zest, and cayenne pepper goes a long way, too. It’s impossible to eat just one.
Can you boil plantains without the skin?
Plantains may be boiled skin-free if desired. There will be some time savings compared to leaving the skin on. Green ones require more effort to peel than mature ones.
Be aware that the boiling process might sometimes cause a change in coloration.
It’s best to boil while still having the peel on and discard the water afterward. The result is less mushy and simpler to peel.
How do you peel plantains quickly and easily?
When boiled with the skin on, they are much simpler to peel after cooling.
The splitting of the skin that occurs during boiling is what makes peeling easier.
Once the plantain has boiled, it can be peeled down its length by running a knife along the length of the plantain while it cools.
Water running over the plantains during peeling might help cool them down and remove any remaining strings.
What are the methods for storing and reheating plantains
- The shelf life of boiled plantains in the refrigerator is roughly 5 days.
- Put them in a sealed container or securely wrap them in foil to keep the air out.
- To reheat, remove the amount you need and heat it for 30 seconds at a time in the microwave. Some people prefer to bake them for 5 minutes, while others prefer to use an air fryer.
- Green plantains are often stored in their cooked water until they are ready to be used. It aids in preserving its tenderness. You would abandon it in the sea while keeping it within the skin. Once peeled, it can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week in an airtight container.
- These should not be frozen. Freezing lowers the quality.