This post comes very highly requested through comments from readers, a how to on picking and preparing plantains. I am grateful for feedback because it allows me to refine and adapt my writing. It also is just plain useful for tips, like the one I am adding to my recipes from now on, I will weigh my plantains in grams and use that measurement.
Plantains are in the banana family (most people think they are bananas). However they are not suitable for eating raw, and always need to be in some sort of cooked form. (fried, baked, boiled then mashed) They are high in starch in low in sugar. Now days, you should be able to find them at most grocery stores, beside the bananas. They are usually larger, ranging from bright green, to yellow, to dark yellow with black spots. The yellower they are, the sweeter they are.
Plantains are very high in potassium and fiber, with slow digesting carbs. They are naturally grain free and keep well. Making them a great option for just about anyone.
To pick, it depends what you are using them for. For frying in oil as used in this recipe, I prefer a riper (yellower) plantain. Using green plantains to fry is trickier and these are called tostones. (recipe to come later)To prepare, simply cut the ends off, then make three slices down the peel to the fruit. Be careful not to go through the fruit, just deep enough to cut through the peel. See below. Then pull the peel off. As a side note, the greener the plantains, the more difficult they are to peel.
For any bread baking recipe, green plantains will produce a starchier batter.
For moist, cake like recipes the riper the better as this will puree smoother and be sweeter.
*Note: This recipe is for two people, but is easily doubled or more. Make sure to fry in enough oil that the plantains are covered. Other oils will work, but I find the mild flavour of the coconut oil works best.
- 2 large plantains (~580g)
- ½ c coconut oil
- 1tsp sea salt
- Pre heat oil in frying pan on medium heat
- peal and slice plantain as pictured
- toss plantain with sea salt in bowl
- fry in a single layer in oil, turning once when browned
- Can cool on a plate lined with paper towel.
- Will harden as they cool.
- Serve while still warm,