Plantains

By Katrin Koelle
Updated on 03. Jul. 2020

Plantains can't be eaten raw like the banana, however when boiled or fried, this South American fruit sings with its delicious starchy texture and mild yet sweet flavor.

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Plantains...

  • ...are low in sugar.
    Unlike bananas, green plantains contain only small amounts of fructose, glucose and other types of sugar.
  • ...can help you lose weight.
    Plantains have more calories than most other vegetables, however their high starch content will keep you full for a long time.
  • ...are rich in vitamins.
    A 100 gram serving of plantains contains almost 10 percent of your daily requirement of vitamins A and C. In addition, plantains contain considerable amounts of all vitamins of the B group, which play an important role in fatty acid and hormone metabolism and help support nervous system health.
  • ...are good for diabetics.
    Since the ratio of starch to sugar is extremely favorable, plantains cause the blood sugar level to rise more slowly and evenly than bananas.
  • ...soothe the stomach.
    Plantains’ high starch content make them easy to digest, and a great option for those with sensitive stomachs or irritated intestine.
  • ...can cause headaches.
    A substance in plantains called tyramine can cause high blood pressure, headaches and even migraines in some people.
  • ...can interact negatively with some medications.
    If you’re on certain antidepressants (so-called MAO inhibitors) there is a risk of too much tyramine forming in the body after eating plantains. If you’re on these medications, its best to consult with a doctor before integrating plantains into your diet.

What You Should Know About Plantains

While plantains might look like bananas, they are much different than their swet cousins. They're much larger, for one, and have a much starchier consistency. They also cannot be eaten raw, but need to be boiled or fried for consumption. 

Origins

Plantains originate from South America, where they have long been a culinary staple, and Africa.

Season

There is no special season for plantains.

Flavor

Plantains have a slightly potato-like consistency and flavor. When fried, they become much more flavorful.

Our Favorite Recipes With Plantains.

Find all our plantain recipes here.

How Healthy Are Plantains?

The greatest strength of plantains is their high starch content, a good 27 percent, which makes them very nutritious. Plantains also contain very low amounts of sugar, which combined with their high starch content causes blood sugar levels to rise very slowly, keeping you full for long. This effect also makes plantains a good ingredient for diabetics.

Plantains aren't a rich of vitamins and minerals, but still contain notable amounts of vitamin A and C plus some B vitamins. They're also rich in magnesium, with 100 grams covering ten percent of your average daily requirement of the mineral. 

Anyone with a sensitive stomach or irritated intestine can benefit from plantains in particular because they're very easy to digest. 

Plantains do contain a substance called tyramine, which can cause high blood pressure, headaches and even migraines in some people. 

PLANTAIN NUTRITIONAL INFO (100 g)  
Calories 126
Protein 1 g
Fat 0.3 g
Carbohydrates 28.3 g
Fiber 1.5 g

Shopping and Cooking Tips

Purchasing

Do not be fooled by the plantains' exterior;  it is precisely when the plantain looks like it should be thrown away that it tastes the best. Look out for black or dark purple skin for optimal flavor.

Storage

Always store plantains at room temperature. Since they are usually harvested unripe, they usually need a few days after purchasing to become fully ripe. This process can be sped up by putting the plantains in a paper bag.

Preparation

Like bananas, plantains need to be peeled before they can be consumed. Once the fibrous peel is gone, simply chop up the plantain according to the recipe. 

What to Make With Plantains

Sliced plantains can be used to make super tasty and low-calorie chips or fries, soup or even a savory mash, which can be served as a side dish with fish, meat, poultry and vegetable dishes. You can also make a delicious gratin from plantains.

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