What Does a Plantain Taste Like?

In this article, we're going to cover plantain taste, texture and a few other things you'll want to know about these starchy fruits...

Fried half ripe plantain slices isolated on white background

Let's get started...

What Does a Plantain Taste Like?

While they look very similar to bananas, plantains don’t always taste like bananas. They are much harder than bananas are, and when they are green they will not have much of a taste.

As they ripen, however, and turn from green to yellow and finally to black, they will become sweeter and will begin to taste more like a bananas, especially when used in baked goods.

Is a Plantain Sweet?

Green plantains are not sweet at all. They are very starchy, however, and will begin to ripen quickly, which means that you don’t have to wait a long time to enjoy sweeter plantains.

As the plantain turns yellow and finally gets black spots before turning black, it will become more and more sweet. The sweetness of ripe plantains will be more pronounced when they are cooked.

What Does a Ripe Plantain Look Like?

Ripe plantains will have a skin that is a mixture of yellow and black. They may be just starting to spot black or may be entirely black. Here's a photo to clarify...

picture of a ripe plantain with black and heavily spotted skin

If you have trouble telling whether or not the plantain that you want to buy or cook with is ripe, then you can easily give it a gentle squeeze. Ripe plantains will give some under moderate pressure, while unripe plantains will be much harder and unyielding.

Can You Eat Black Plantains?

You can eat black plantains, and this is when they are the sweetest and the best for desserts. As the plantain ripens, its skin will slowly darken.

During the ripening process, the plantain fruit will get softer, sweeter, and smell more like a banana. A completely black plantain is going to be very soft and ripe.

While this may limit what you are able to cook with your black plantain, it will not prevent you from being able to eat it.

Is a Plantain a Fruit or a Vegetable?

Plantains are actually classified as fruits, not vegetables.

Due to their high starch content, especially when they are green and unripe, they are often cooked as a vegetable. This can be very confusing for some people and will make them question whether they are eating a fruit or a vegetable.

How Do You Prepare Black Plantains?

While most people automatically think about using black plantains in sweet desserts, they can be used in several ways, including:

  • Empanada dough
  • Waffles
  • Maduros

This video shows you how to use black plantains with ripe and black beans to make a delicious dish after steaming them in their skin

If you prefer not to cook or simply don’t have time to, then you can easily enjoy your black plantains raw, which will allow you to really enjoy the natural sweetness of this fruit.

Wrap up

The next time that you let your green plantains get too ripe, don’t despair! You can easily use them in many ways and enjoy their wonderful natural sweetness. In fact, there are many people who prefer to allow their plantains to ripen and become black before using them so that they are as sweet as possible.

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