Plantains Nutrition facts and Health benefits

Plantains Nutrition facts and Health benefits

Selection and storage

Plantains Nutrition facts and Health benefits
Plantain (left) and banana. Photo courtesy: satanoid

Plantains of all kinds are readily available in USA supermarkets year-round. At maturity, they usually harvest the unripe ones and immediately take them to the market for sale.

Look for firm, mature, deep green, well-shaped plantains that are heavy in the hand. Do not buy overripe, damaged, split fruits, because they remain difficult. Once at home, store them uncovered at room temperature for up to 4-5 days.

When ripe, plantain too, like bananais very fragile and shows signs of decay in a short time.

Method of Preparation and Delivery

fried plantains
Fried plantains.
Photo courtesy: Purdman1.
plantain chips
Plantain chips (vaazhakka upperi)-India

Plantains are inedible raw and should be eaten only after cooking.

To prepare, simply wash the raw fruit in cold water and dry with a paper towel. Using a paring knife, cut both ends. Then, cut the fruit into short lengths, split the skin shallowly along the ridge and peel the skin gently away from the flesh to get the firm flesh inside. Often, the whole fruit can be barbecued in its skin. Otherwise, its peeled flesh can be thinly sliced, and the chunks treated like potatoes in many traditional African and West Indian cuisines.

Plantains can be delicious when cooked and are often served in main meals as the main source of carbohydrate in many parts of tropical regions.

Here are some delivery tips:

Tostones are other Caribbean specialties. Photo courtesy: John Stephen.
  • Plantains make delicious recipes, used in place of potatoes on grills, mashed, baked, or fries.

  • In the South-Indian Kerala state, plantain chips (vaazhakka upperi) seasoned with salt and pepper, is a popular snack. Tostones (twice-fried plátano), prepared in a similar manner, are once again enjoyed as a snack in the Caribbean and Latin Americas.

  • Its flower head (inflorescence) and inner icicle-white, tender stem (vazhai thandu in Malayalam) are also eaten in a variety of recipes in South-Asian regions.

  • Banana couch is a popular Caribbean soup preparation that uses green plantains, garlic, cilantroand cheese.

  • Mashed plantain served with fried onions is a national breakfast of the Dominican Republic. Mashed plantain is served with rice, eggs, beanspoultry, fish, etc., in these regions.

Safety profile

As a close relative of bananas, plantains also often cause local and systemic allergic reactions in some sensitive individuals. The fruit can cause urticaria and can cause potentially serious gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

“Oral allergy syndrome” is a condition in which eating foods of the banana family can cause swelling and irritation of the mouth or throat for several hours.

Another type of allergic reaction may be related to the plant latex. (Medical disclaimer).

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Additional references:

  1. Musa species-Banana and plantain.

  2. USDA – Nutrient Database for Common Reference.