We often hear people asking, is plantain a fruit or a vegetable? It is not only about plantain there are many certain foods. It is hard to know whether it is a fruit or a vegetable.
Some can appear to be fruits but actually be vegetables, some can taste like a vegetable but actually be a fruit, and depending on how they are used, it can be difficult to tell which t is.
One food which gets people confused quite often because of how it is used is plantains. This food can be used in many different ways, and because of this, people are unsure whether it is categorized as a fruit or as a vegetable.
This is made even more confusing when you consider that this food looks very similar to bananas which are a fruit, and some people even use plantain as a word for banana.
But while these two foods do look very similar, they are actually completely different species and because of this they are used completely differently and are not interchangeable.
So, while plantain looks very similar to bananas, they are nowhere near them when it comes to taste, as well as their texture and how they are used. But are plantains a fruit or a vegetable? Read on to find out!
One of the best things about plantains is that they can be used in any of their forms, and can be eaten in different ways whenever.
You can wait for them to be ripe to eat them, but you do not have to. When it comes to different types of plantain you can eat, you can often find them in either yellow or green.
The green plantains are the ones which will be the most raw, and because of this, they are cooked by boiling and then frying.
Yellow plantains on the other hand are much more ripe and are used in different situations like; stir frys, making chips, and also feature in plenty of different side dishes.
After this, they can also become black, at this point they will be much sweeter, and significantly softer. When they reach this stage it is possible to just eat them by themselves.
So, while plantains are officially seen as fruits, and when they are blackened and ripe they can be eaten like a fruit would, the majority of the ways in which plantains are used is actually more akin to how vegetables are used.
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Why Are Plantains Used As Vegetables?
So, as you now know, plantains are actually fruits, but they are still treated often like vegetables and cooked similarly.
The most common comparison is plantains being cooked like potatoes. For example, they get boiled, they get fried, they get mashed, they are turned into chips. While they are not as versatile as potatoes, for a fruit, they get very close.
The main explanation for why plantains are treated like vegetables, or more similarly, potatoes, is because of the much higher starch content they have compared to bananas, as well as having a significantly lower amount of sugar content.
This is why plantains only start to get sweet when they are getting blackened and are soft.
If you do not know, plantains are a staple savory ingredient in many different cultures and cuisines, for example, in Central and South America, as well as in the Caribbean.
If you have ever travelled to one of these regions, or know people who originate from these areas, you will recognize that the cuisine is significantly different, and ingredients like plantains are used quite commonly.
As we have said, there is a massive variety in different methods of preparing plantain, and because of this, just because you might not like one way of plantain being prepared, there is a good chance that you could like a different method of them being prepared.
There are many delicious ways that plantains are prepared, and because they are present in so many cultures, you are sure to find a method of preparing plantains which you will love.
Where Do Plantains Come From?
So, you may be wondering where exactly it is where plantains come from. Plantains themselves are native to the Southeastern regions of Asia.
They are a tropical fruit which will commonly be found in countries like; Thailand, The Philippines, as well as different southeastern countries.
But, even though plantains are found in these areas natively, this does not mean that you will not be able to find them where you are from.
They are often exported and imported all around the world. You may have to look for specialty shops, but you will be able to find them if you look carefully enough.
If you look at the box which a plantain is found in, you will be able to see the country which has exported it.
You will likely find Ecuador listed as it is one of the most common countries to export the fruit, and the top producer of plantains is Cameroon.
What Does Plantain Taste Like?
As we have been over, plantain does not taste similar to a banana, and because of their higher starch content, they are not as easy to peel as bananas are as well.
The taste of a standard plantain is starchy as well as being slightly sweet, similar level of sweetness to a sweet potato, but nothing more intense than this.
You can eat them when they are raw in the yellow and green stage, however they will be better to enjoy raw when they are black as they will have a smoother texture and a sweeter taste like a dessert.
A yellow or green plantain will taste a little more bland is much more firm, like a potato, this is why they are so often used for making chips or wedges which will be fried.
These snacks which are made using plantains have a very similar taste as well as texture to chip or fry made with potatoes which is why the comparison is so common.
They are often seasoned using many different varieties of spices and served with different condiments. This includes Italian herbs, garlic, pepper. Cinnamon, salt, and much more.
How To Know If A Plantain Is Ripe?
It is a very common misconception that once a plantain has been blackened it is bad and will be inedible, but this is not the truth and this is just when the plantain has become fully ripe and it is going to be delicious to eat because of how sweet it is.
The only issue with this is that it is quite hard to peel once it has reached this stage, and in comparison it is much more simple to peel a plantain which is either green or yellow.
So, if you are upset that your plantain is black, you can eat it instead of having to throw it away.
The only plantain you will tend to find in a store will be those which are green, and sometimes you will find yellow ones too, but luckily these are very easy to prepare.
If you want to speed up the ripening of your plantains, all you have to do is put them in a paper bag and store at room temperature, this will make them riper within a couple of weeks. Being in sunlight also speeds up the ripening.
How To Cook Plantain?
As has been mentioned, plantains are incredibly versatile and simple to prepare, they can be fried, grilled, roasted, and boiled.
They can also be used as an inclusion in a stew or curry, and mashed plantain is used as food for babies and the elderly.
One of the mos universally enjoyed forms of plantain is when they are turned into fried chips, these are easy to add flavor to, and have a better natural flavor than a fried potato chip does.
Boil Green Plantains
One of the best ways to prepare green plantain is to peel them and then cut them into slices. Then you can boil them for 30 minutes until they have become tender. These can be used in plenty of different ways and make a healthy snack too.
Fry Yellow Plantains
After washing and peeling your plantains, one of the best ways to cook them is to fry them until they have gotten crispy and look golden and delicious. The best way to season these are with garlic powder as well as salt and pepper.
Hopefully this article has answered all questions you have about plantains, and you now know the best ways to use them!
Frequently Asked Questions
Can Diabetics Eat Plantains?
People who are suffering from Diabetics, or those who need to control their blood sugar, may not be able to eat plantains, because plantains are high in starch.
Are Plantains A Fruit Or Starch?
Plantains are a fruit. They are starch-rich fruit which is typically cooked and eaten as a vegetable. The plantain plant is a herbaceous perennial from the banana family.
How Is Plantain Different From Bananas?
Bananas are a type of fruit that grows on a tree and have large seeds in them. They are yellow in color and can be eaten raw, boiled, or fried. Plantains, on the other hand, are the fruit of the banana plant. They are green in color and can be eaten raw, boiled, or fried.
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