Plantains are native to India and are grown most widely in tropical climates. Plantains are sometimes referred to as the pasta and potatoes of the Caribbean. Sold in the fresh produce section of the supermarket, they usually resemble green bananas but ripe plantains may be black in color. This vegetable-banana can be eaten and tastes different at every stage of development. The interior color of the fruit will remain creamy, yellowish or lightly pink. When the peel is green to yellow, the flavor of the flesh is bland and its texture is starchy. As the peel changes to brown or black, it has a sweeter flavor and more of a banana aroma, but still keeps a firm shape when cooked.
Yellow plantains are characterized by the age of the fruit. They are essentially at the middle stage of the fruit’s maturity. Yellow plantains have a slightly firm and starchy texture, mild, almost insipid flavor and lower sugar content. If a Yellow plantain is left to ripen, it will develop a sweet taste and its color will change from yellow to black.
Plantains, botanical name Musa paradisiaca, are the fruit of the same species as bananas as there are no clear distinctions between bananas and plantains other than bananas are for fresh eating and plantains are considered cooking bananas. Plantains are a staple food in tropical regions, sustaining large populations in developing countries. They are the tenth most important staple that feeds the world.
Yellow plantains are often mashed, grilled over coals and baked due to their stage of maturity. They are the choice plantain for caramelizing, often as a sweet addition to savory dishes, especially in Caribbean cuisines, specifically Cuban. Yellow plantains are complimented by ingredients such as coconut, vanilla, cream, melting cheeses, chiles, citrus, chicken, pork, black beans, pineapple, mango, shrimp, tofu and herbs such as cilantro and mint.
Plantains are a Latin American and Caribbean staple. They are an inexpensive substitute for potatoes and rice in many Latin American dishes, including Mexican cuisine where tortillas are filled with cooked Yellow Plantain.
Plantains are native to Southeast Asia, South Asia and West Africa, specifically tropical regions of Nigeria and Ghana. Yellow Plantain plants do eventually expire production of fruit, yet they are among the longest producing of banana plants. A single plant may produce fruits up to fifty years depending on its tropical location.
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