Bananas vs. Plantains – What’s the difference?admin
So what’s all the confusion about bananas and plantains? They look similar, and they’re both fruits that are very nutritious. Well, although there are many similarities, they are also very different, and here’s why.
How are Bananas and Plantains different?
Coming from the same family of plants, bananas and plantains are both considered fruits that are rich in carbohydrates and potassium. They also look similar but have very different tastes and are consumed differently.
Plantains may be green, yellow, or very dark brown in color. They are usually larger in size, with a thick peel, starchier, milder in flavor, and must be cooked before eating. On the other hand, bananas, have a softer peel which transitions from an unripe green to a bright yellow color as they ripen. They are softer, creamier in texture, mostly consumed raw, and commonly used in desserts for their natural sweetness.
They’re Both Very Nutritious
Both plantains and bananas are really nutritious, tasty, and good for you! They are a great source of vital nutrients including potassium, magnesium, vitamin C, fiber, and antioxidant compounds.
Geography and Bananas
Bananas (including plantains) are one of the most important staple crops in the world. For the US market, most are grown in tropical areas as Colombia and Ecuador nearly all year-round.
How To Store
It’s best to ripen green bananas on the counter but keep in mind that they will continue to ripen, and pretty quickly, depending on the temperature. Bananas can also be stored in the refrigerator only after they have become the desired level of ripeness. Sticking them in the refrigerator will turn their skins black, but the fruit inside will stay the same ripeness (the cold stops the ripening – which is why you don’t want to put a green banana in the fridge).
Plantains should be stored in a cool dry place with good ventilation to prevent any moisture build-up. You should also not store ripening bananas near green plantains or highly perishable fruits and vegetables as they emit high levels of ethylene gas that promote ripening and decay.
How To Cook Plantains
Being that plantains are more similar to a vegetable than fruit and contain less sugar, they can be prepared in a few ways. For use in stews or soups just boil. If you prefer to use it as a side dish, you can boil whole, peel, and mash or slice, fry, and eat as a chip (fritter called tostones).
The bottom line, bananas, and plantains can easily be mistaken by look but not by taste or application. Bananas are a household staple that’s mainly used in baking or eaten raw. Plantains, on the other hand, are mainly fried, baked, or caramelized and served as a savory side at a Latin, African, or Caribbean restaurant. Regardless of how they’re made, they are both nutritious and delicious!