Fans of Caribbean cuisine will know just how amazing plantains are.
Ripe plantains are full of sweet flavors and taste just like a dessert.
Unripe plantains have a potato-like texture that tastes great when fried.
But what about raw plantains?
Can you eat them raw, and is it safe to do so?
We’ll cover the answer in this post, including whether it is safe to eat plantains raw, the potential benefits of eating the fruit raw, and some methods of cooking plantains properly.
Keep reading to find out whether it’s safe to eat raw plantain!
Can You Eat Raw Plantain Safely?
Raw plantains can be eaten safely, but they aren’t as appetizing as they are when cooked.
Plantains can be eaten at several ripeness phases, including black, yellow, and green.
Green plantains are more like vegetables and are usually cooked before they are eaten.
Yellow plantains are a little sweeter than green ones and can be enjoyed cooked and raw.
Black plantains are the ripest.
These are very sweet and are generally cooked before serving.
While it isn’t a must to cook black or yellow plantains before you enjoy them, many people prefer to do so.
Plantains have enzymes that lead to indigestion in larger amounts.
Raw plantains can also be harder to digest as they contain a lot of starches.
This is why it’s advised to cook plantains before you eat them.
If they are cooked, the fruit turns softer and tender.
It also eliminates some of the starches to make it easier on the digestive system, which is ideal for anyone with digestive problems.
No matter if you cook your plantains or eat them raw, remember to wash them well first.
Cleaning the fruit thoroughly will remove any bacteria or dirt that’s left on the skin.
Are There Health Benefits Of Eating Plantains Raw?
Raw plantains are a great source of fiber.
Fiber can keep you satiated after meals, keep your bowel movements regular, and encourage better gut health.
Raw plantains are also a great source of minerals and vitamins, like magnesium, potassium, and vitamins A and C.
Raw plantains are also lower on the glycemic index, so they may help regulate blood glucose levels.
This means that they are ideal for anyone living with diabetes or prediabetes.
Additionally, thanks to their anti-inflammatory effects, raw plantains may help decrease the risk of chronic health conditions and diseases, like cancer or coronary artery disease.
The Difference Between Bananas And Plantains
Plantains may resemble bananas, but they have several important differences between them.
Bananas are generally smaller than plantains and have thinner skin.
Plantains are also higher in starches and lower in sugar than bananas, which makes them taste less sweet.
This is why plantains are usually cooked before they are eaten, but bananas are normally eaten raw.
Cooking-wise, there are several ways of preparing plantains.
You can fry, bake, or boil them, depending on your preferences.
Plantains can be baked into sweet desserts or fried into savory dishes.
Even though you can’t enjoy biting into a plantain the way you would with a banana, you can enjoy eating this fruit in several ways.
How To Prepare Plantains
There are two main ways of preparing plantains, frying them and boiling them.
Fried plantains can be eaten as a dessert or a snack, while boiled plantains are normally enjoyed as a side dish.
Boiling Plantains: Method
Boiling plantains is a very easy process, as you just need to boil the fruit in salted water.
You Will Need
- Wash the unpeeled plantains thoroughly to remove bacteria and dirt.
- Leave the skin on the fruit, then cut them into chunks, roughly two inches wide.
- Add the fruit chunks to two to three cups of salted, boiling water.
- Cover the pan and let the fruit simmer for 15-20 minutes.
- Drain the pan and let the plantains cool. Remove the skins.
- Boiled plantains have a flavor that resembles a sweet potato. This makes them a great addition to stews or soups that need potatoes.
- Make sure you leave the skin on during the boiling process. This helps the plantains retain their important nutrients and stops them from becoming mushy.
Frying Plantains: Method
Frying is the most popular method used to prepare plantains, but some are switching to other methods for health reasons.
You Will Need
- Vegetable oil – or your favorite type of oil
- Peel the skin off of the fruit.
- Slice the plantains into cubes, coins, or chunks, depending on your preferences.
- Place your wok or frying pan over medium heat, then add the oil.
- After the oil becomes hot, carefully place the plantain pieces into the pan. Take caution with this step as hot oil can lead to burns.
- Fry the fruit for five to ten minutes, turning the pieces at intervals.
- After the fruit turns golden brown, transfer them from the pan to a plate.
- Dab the pieces with a paper towel to remove any excess oil.
- You can enjoy fried plantains on their own, in a stew, or as a side dish next to a main course, like beans and rice.
- Unripe, fried plantains have a crisp texture that tastes great as chips. Ripe fried plantains are sweeter and more tender, which makes them a great dessert.
Will Eating Plantains Raw Kill You?
Though raw plantains are safe to eat, there have been some instances where raw plantains have led to death.
Generally speaking, plantains were introduced from different countries and weren’t prepared before being eaten.
It’s thought that the toxins in raw plantains may lead to death or paralysis when ingested in large amounts.
These cases are rare, but it’s important to take care when eating plantains.
If you aren’t sure whether your fruit has been prepared correctly, stay on the safe side and avoid them completely.
Plantains are tasty fruits that can be enjoyed at any ripeness stage.
Black and yellow plantains are tender and sweet, while green ones are starchy and firm.
Plantains can be eaten raw, but they aren’t as enjoyable as cooked ones, which is why they are generally cooked beforehand.
Green plantains can be boiled, baked, and fried.
Black and yellow plantains are usually fried or baked.
This versatile fruit is full of nutrients and tastes great in both savory and sweet dishes.
Consider making plantains part of your next meal – you won’t regret it!
- 2 plantains
- 5 cups of water
- 1 tablespoon oil
- In a big pot over medium-high heat, bring water to a boil.
- Remove the plantain’s head and tails and throw them away.
- Plantains can be added to boiling water.
- Whenever making green plantains, mix oil and water.
- Cook until tender (ripe can take up to 15 minutes, green can take up to 25 minutes)