Plantains are a common ingredient in the cuisine of many Caribbean countries. But are they the same as bananas? In today’s post, we take a closer look at this and other interesting facts about these two fruits.
Plantains vs Bananas: Are They the Same?
The term “plantain” refers to a group of banana varieties, so the answer is no: while they are related, plantains and bananas are not exactly the same.
One of the most important differences between common dessert bananas (the fruit most people imagine when we talk about bananas) and plantains is that plantains are higher in starch. As a consequence, plantains have a tougher consistency than bananas.
Additionally, plantains aren’t very sweet when green. However, they are usually cooked before they ripen because that’s when the starch content is higher. So most dessert recipes that include green plantains usually call for generous amounts of sweeteners.
Plantains are popular in a wide array of countries including Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Trinidad and Tobago, Haiti, Panama, Puerto Rico, Ecuador, Guatemala, Nigeria, Ghana, and some zones of India.
Can Plantains Be Eaten Raw Like a Banana?
No, since plantains have a tough, somewhat stringy consistency, they are usually not eaten raw. That’s why plantains are usually fried or boiled.
Below are some examples of typical dishes made with plantains. As you can see, even in countries where people love plantains, they prefer not to eat them raw.
- Tostones: Cuban deep-fried green plantains.
- Platanos en tentacion: Cuban-caramel glazed plantains
- Patacones: the Colombian version of Cuban tostones
- Bolon de verde: Ecuadorian green plantains fried and mashed into dough and stuffed with cheese or chicharron
- Tortillitas de verde: Ecuadorian plantain patties filled with cheese
- Chifles: Ecuadorian plantain chips
For more interesting food facts, make sure to check out our previous blogs, “What Is the Difference Between Fruits and Vegetables,” “Is a Bell Pepper a Fruit or a Vegetable?,” and “How To Tell if a Pineapple is Ripe?”
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