Mistakes Everyone Makes With Plantains

The very first mistake people make with plantains? Confusing them with bananas. Now that we have that out of the way, cooking with plantains should be much easier. If you've ever had perfectly crispy tostones, satisfyingly crunchy plantain chips, or sticky-sweet plátanos maduros, you might be wondering how to recreate these plantain delicacies at home. Plantains are a staple food for people all over the world, and unlike bananas, they're rarely eaten raw (via Delishably). You can look at them almost like potatoes as opposed to bananas: better eaten cooked or fried (via Livestrong). And before you dive into cooking a dish, the key to plantains is choosing the right ones.

Second mistake: don't shop for plantains without a recipe in mind. When you're looking for a plantain at the store, be sure to have a plan, writes Amigo Foods. That's because, unlike bananas, plantains can be used when they're very dark brown, or when they're completely green but will vary greatly in taste (via Amigo Foods). A yellow plantain isn't necessarily the level of ripeness your recipe might call for, so depending on what you're cooking, look for the color that fits best (via Amigo Foods). According to Healthline, látanos maduros are very dark, sweet plantains, while plantain chips are usually made with green plantains.

What else you should know about plantains

Another mistake people can make with plantains is to rely on their sense of smell to choose them — again, like a banana. But plantains rarely have a strong smell, so go by touch (via Amigo Foods). If you're shopping for the sweeter dark brown variety, feel it out first. A little give is okay, explains Amigo Foods, but if your plantain feels like a water balloon, skip it. If your recipe can wait a while, you might want to buy plantains a little firmer or greener and let them reach the perfect ripeness at home.

Plantains behave like many other fruits left to ripen. You can put them in a paper bag to speed up the process, but don't pop them in the fridge unless they've reached your ideal ripeness (via Amigo Foods). If you're making a sweet plantain recipe like maduros, let them get nice and brown. Green-yellow plantains are perfect for plantain chips, where you'll slice the firm plantains and fry them. Whichever path you choose for your plantains, Healthline assure that they'll provide a hearty, fiber and potassium-rich treat.