Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Plantains For Dummies

[-----]   That is about how much I knew about plantains.  I knew they looked like bananas, they are not grown in America, and you could buy them at Wal-Mart.   After thinking about it and rereading what I just wrote, I think I should actually take out a few dashes from that measurement at the beginning.

One fine day while in the fresh vegetables and fruit area of Wal-Mart, I decided that it was finally the day that I got out of my comfort zone and buy one of these exotic looking "bananas".

Yes, it had a few black spots on it, but they all did, so I decided it must be alright.  I got home and started doing some research online about this strange new-to-me fruit.

I discovered that it really should be cooked before eating but that several people had eaten them raw and survived.  I discovered that it is considered ripe when it is all black.  (oops)   I discovered that this fruit scared me a little since I didn't know what exactly to do with it.

So it sat on the counter for about 2 weeks getting a little blacker everyday.

Finally, the day came to do something with it, because really it was in the way and I shouldn't be scared of a fake banana!   I didn't really want to fry it because of the calories so back to the Internet I went.

I saw a sight that show three methods of preparing plantains that were healthy.  I could steam, boil, or bake them.  I went with bake, since I understood those instructions the best.

I started off by trying to peel it like a banana.  No go.  The skin is much thicker than a banana.  So I cut off an end to try to peel it with some help.  Still a no go.  I cut the plantain in half short way and then again long way.  I had four pieces still with peel on them all.  Once it was cut this way I was able to get the peel off.

The peel is more like an orange and peels about the same way, sometimes coming off easy but in some places not as easy.  The actual fruit is much drier than a banana.  I thought I was going to have a mess on my hands from peeling it but I didn't.  The texture of the actual plantain was more like eggplant being slightly spongy.

I wanted to see what this thing tasted like raw, so I cut a little piece off and ate it.  Ew! Don't try it no matter if some dude on an Internet forum claims he does it all the time!  The man must not have taste buds!!  It was gritty and some of it flaked off on my tongue like dirt and tasted like dirt.  (Because I am a connoisseur of dirt....)

I finally got it all cut up and ready for its 15 minute blast in the oven at 450 degrees.


After tasting it raw I was leary of how cooking could change that mess to something enjoyable.  I read that when they are fried usually honey and cinnamon are added to make a nice dessert.  I figured it couldn't hurt to do the same if baking it.  I didn't use a lot of honey and in hindsight could have used more, again I was trying to keep the calories down.  

While they cooked they did smell good, but I think that was the honey and cinnamon more than anything else.  Once done baking the honey had burned some but overall they looked alright.  Now for the ultimate test, the taste test.

I chose one at random, blew on it so I wouldn't burn my tongue, and popped it into my mouth.  They were a little bland and that is why I was thinking more honey would have helped.  The cinnamon was good and when I hit a place where honey was it was really good all together.  They had dried out a lot and were close to being dehydrated.  They did taste and reminded me of dehydrated banana chips without all the sugar.  

I had a bowl of grapes, cubed mango, and cubed avocado that I dumped the baked plantain into.  Mixed it all up and called it supper.  


The sweetness of the other fruits helped make the plantain more enjoyable.  All in all, it wasn't awful (when cooked, when raw it was horrible).  I would like to try it again with more honey and maybe less cooking time.

So there you go, my adventures with a new-to-me food.  I hope you learned something and/or if you  have a tip or two for me regarding these things please let me know!

Until next time!