What's The Difference Between Green And Black Plantains

Perhaps you have already come across something looking strikingly similar to bananas in the supermarket. Those would be plantains. Unlike the familiar yellow fruit most of us know well, plantains are not typically eaten raw, according to Livestrong. Their starchy texture and bitter flavor are off-putting. Plantains are sometimes called "cooking bananas" for good reason (via The Spruce Eats). When plantains are cooked, their flavor mellows and their texture becomes more palatable.

The list of differences between plantains and bananas goes on. Plantains are larger than bananas and have a thicker skin (via The Pioneer Woman). Something plantains and bananas have in common is that both can be appreciated all across their color spectrum, from green (unripe) to yellow (ripe) to black (overripe). Green bananas are probiotic and help us absorb nutrients better than ripe bananas (via Spoon University). Black bananas taste sweeter and have more antioxidants, according to Business Insider. Similarly, plantains at different stages have different types of appeal, depending on how they're prepared. 

The best ways to fry green and black plantains

Plantains can be cooked in a wide variety of ways, whether green or black. They can be fried, boiled, steamed, grilled, or baked (via The Spruce Eats).  Green plantains are firm and starchy and have a flavor similar to potatoes. So the best way to prepare them, according to The Pioneer Woman, is to fry them twice to make what are called tostones. These are a lot like french fries — crispy on the outside, starchy on the inside.  

The Pioneer Woman explains that the starches in plantains convert into sugars as they ripen. When you slice up and fry black plantains, the sugars caramelize and the pieces brown easily. The Spruce Eats recommends waiting until plantains are completely ripe, then frying them, to get the full caramelization effect. 

Now that you know just how versatile the plantain is, you may opt to grab a bunch instead of going straight for the bananas, as usual.