The Banana vs The Plantain

plantainVS BANANA

I probably buy 30-35 bananas a week and I can assure you that all of them are eaten. Not only do I buy them because everyone in my home loves them but for several other reason…nutrients, taste, versatility, they look fantastic as decoration ; ), etc.

I remember when my son was diagnosed with diabetes at the age of 10 (2008) and sitting in the hospital speaking with the dietitian going over how I was going to have to adjust our entire lifestyle and eating habits. There were a few foods that she mentioned as staples and banana was one of the first ones. Since then bananas are one of the main items you can always find in my kitchen.

When you think of a banana, you usually think of just peeling and eating, but there are so many other ways to eat it.  The banana is very sweet, but the green plantain is savory.  Not only are these fruits delicious, they also have great health benefits. Lets explore…

BANANA

 

Bananas are traditionally eaten raw as they are sweet while plantains are cooked before eaten whether baked or fried. The flavor of plantains, being adapted to cooking, is closer to a potato than a banana. A green and yellow plantain is firm and starchy, and will only start taking on some of the flavor profile of a banana after it becomes ripe or overripe when the exterior skin starts turning black. Frequently, plantains are consumed as chips. And though these chips taste more like potato chips, plantain chips are used with dips, more like tortilla chips.

Bananas are among the most popular fruits on earth.

Native to Southeast Asia, they are now grown in many warmer parts of the world.

There are many types of bananas available, which vary in color, size and shape. The most common type is the yellow banana, which is green when unripe.

Bananas contain a fair amount of fiber, as well as several antioxidants. One medium-sized banana (118 grams) also contains (123):

Medium Banana

  • Potassium: 9% of the RDI.
  • Vitamin B6: 33% of the RDI.
  • Vitamin C: 11% of the RDI.
  • Magnesium: 8% of the RDI.
  • Copper: 10% of the RDI.
  • Manganese: 14% of the RDI.
  • Net carbs: 24 grams.
  • Fiber: 3.1 grams.
  • Protein: 1.3 grams.
  • Fat: 0.4 grams.

Each banana contains only about 105 calories, and consists almost exclusively of water and carbs. Bananas contain very little protein and almost no fat.

The carbs in unripe (green) bananas consist mostly of starch and resistant starch, but as the banana ripens, the starch turns into sugar (glucose, fructose and sucrose).

Recipe ideas for Bananas

  • Banana Bread
  • Banana Pancakes or Waffles
  • Shakes
  • Mashed and mixed with granola and honey
  • Banana Flambe with ice cream

 

PLANTAINS

 

Plantains – although they look a lot like green bananas and are a close relative, plantains are very different. They are starchy, not sweet, and they are used as a vegetable in many recipes, especially in Latin America and Africa. Plantains are sold in the fresh produce section of the supermarket, they usually resemble green bananas; ripe plantains may be black in color. Plantains are longer than bananas and they have thicker skins. They also have natural brown spots and rough areas.

Generally speaking, bananas and plantains were bred to be different because they are used for different . Because plantains often plays a role in the kitchen, it evolved to excel as an ingredient in various dishes. And it shows up in many Cuban dishes, next to rice and black beans. Cubans used fried sweet plantains or tostones (fried green plantains) and rarely eat the plantain raw (sweetness arrives in a plantain when it starts blackening).  It is traditional that rice, beans and fried plantains partner together with the main dish.

Medium Plantain – Green

  • Potassium: 739 mg
  • Vitamin B6: .44 mg
  • Vitamin C: 27 mg
  • Magnesium: 55 mg
  • Carbs: 48 g
  • Fiber: 4 g
  • Protein: 1 g
  • Fat: 0 g


Recipe ideas for Plantains

  • Tostones
  • Maduros
  • Mariquitas
  • Toston cups stuffed with….anything

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