Green (Unripe) and Yellow (Ripe) Plaintains

In Albums: food fruit produce

Green plantains on the right, yellow plantains on the left, most showing some black bruising

Feb 27th, 2011, by Alex Zorach

These plantains were for sale at the Newark, Delaware farmer's market.

Plantains are a large, tougher relative of the banana which generally needs to be cooked before being eaten. The inside of plantains tend to be much more astringent than a typical banana, rendering them relatively inedible fresh, but cooked, they can be delicious.

Plantains can be cooked many different ways but they are generally fried. These are not the best-looking plantains, but if I were to buy these and cook them immediately (without letting them ripen further), I would use the green ones to cook tostones, a double-fried plantain made by frying cubes of the fruit, then smashing them into cakes and frying them again. The plantains on the left I would probably slice more thinly and cook in canola oil, probably yielding something slightly sweet but still very starchy. If allowed to ripen much more (i.e. brown skin), they would become very soft and only really be usable as a desert.

In general though, I prefer to buy plantains that show much less bruising than these. Although they are tougher than bananas and bruise less easily, these, especially the ripe ones, would probably still bruise considerably more when I took them home.