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Cooking with Plantains

Plantains


Oddly enough, plantains, like bananas, are not natives of the Caribbean or South America. They were first cultivated in Asia thousands of years ago and then made their tortuous way west to the islands, traveling in the company of traders and explorers.


A cousin of the sweet bananas that are eaten by the truckload in this country, plantains are, in reality, a fruit. Like bananas, the riper they become, the sweeter the flesh. Unlike bananas, they must be cooked before eating.


The flavor of unripe plantains is mild and very starchy, a little bit like potatoes, and they make a nice occasional substitute. In some countries, especially in the Caribbean and South America, they are not only the principal starch but are a principal food, served at virtually every meal.


Riper plantains, those with a dark, blackened skin, begin to taste somewhat like a slightly sweet squash and can be prepared much like sweet potatoes: You can bake plantains, boil plantains, mash plantains, and so forth.


Plantain nutrition is low in fiber, high in carbohydrates, and provides a good source of vitamin A.

More about Plaintain Vegetable Recipes


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