Green bananas, also called plantains, are a high-carbohydrate treat that's less sweet than fresh bananas. You can make boiled green bananas or fry them, but they're not too healthy and may contain more calories.
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You can boil green bananas with the skin on or off. It should take roughly 15 to 20 minutes to fully cook them in boiling water.
Bananas Versus Plantains
Bananas are easy to digest and can help with tummy trouble, cardiovascular problems and other common health issues. These delicious fruits boast large amounts of fiber and potassium, a key mineral. They also contain natural sugars that keep you energized.
Their therapeutic properties are backed up by science, reports a September 2017 review published in the journal Prilozi. When consumed as part of a balanced diet, bananas may improve immune function, protect against diabetes and keep your heart healthy. However, more research is needed to confirm these findings.
Several types of bananas belong to the same family but have different characteristics. An unripe yellow banana is different from a plantain. In the United States, bananas and plantains have different names. However, some countries refer to plantains as green bananas — when you're at the store looking for plantains, it's important to make this distinction.
Read more: Top Ten Health Benefits of Bananas
A plantain is generally larger than a yellow banana. These fruits are tougher, starchier and lower in sugar, according to Harvard School of Public Health. Both types of bananas will ripen, although plantains take longer and are less sweet when they finally turn yellow.
Green cooked bananas, or plantains, are a major source of carbohydrates in some countries, such as Jamaica. They're served as a main course since they don't have much sugar, and you won't see many green banana dessert recipes. Although they're popular in warm climates, these fruits can grow in countries as far north as the United Kingdom.
Making Boiled Green Bananas
While yellow bananas will soften and don't need to be cooked before consumption, plantains are tough and require some type of cooking, according to the USDA. Depending on your preferences, you can boil or fry them.
If you choose to boil green bananas, start with a pot of water big enough to completely submerge them. Bring your water to a boil and add a teaspoon of salt. Then, you can add the plantains with or without the skin.
To take the skin off, cut the top and bottom. Next, cut away the skin around the banana and place it in the pot. If you keep the skin on, make sure to rinse off the fruit before placing it in the water to remove any pesticides or dirt.
Cook the plantains for 15 to 20 minutes. Use a fork to test their tenderness as you finish cooking. It should feel easy to pierce the bananas with a fork once it's done. Take them out of the water and let them cool before removing the skin.
While boiling is an effective method for cooking plantains, it doesn't add flavor. You'll be left with relatively bland, starchy food. Although it's healthy to eat them this way, you might want to add some flavor by frying them.
Read more: 16 Surprising Facts About Bananas
How to Cook Fried Plantains
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has a fried green banana recipe on their website. Start by cutting the skin off and slicing the plantain into inch-thick pieces.
Take a skillet out, add oil to the pan and turn on the heat. Once it's hot, place the plantain slices in the oil and let them cook for one or one and a half minutes until they turn golden yellow. Then, flip them over and repeat.
Next, remove the plantains from the heat and place them on a cookie sheet. Let them cool, then turn them on their sides and smash them down. Afterward, submerge them in water for about one minute. Remove the plantains from the water, dry them, then put them back in a skillet with oil for two to four minutes.
When you fry a green banana instead of boiling it, its nutritional value changes. According to the USDA, a cup of boiled green bananas has 132 calories, 1.6 grams of protein, 0.5 grams of fat and 34 grams of carbs. There are also 4 grams of fiber.
Fried green bananas, on the other hand, have more calories and fat. There are 281 calories, 2 grams of protein, 12 grams of fat and 45 grams of carbs, including 5 grams of fiber, in one cup.
- U.S. Department of Agriculture: "Green Banana, Fried"
- U.S. Department of Agriculture: "Green Banana, Cooked (In Salt Water)"
- Royal Horticultural Society: "Bananas"
- Harvard School of Public Health: "Bananas"
- Prilozi: "Let's Go Bananas! Green Bananas and their Health Benefits"
- U.S. Department of Agriculture: "Plantain Inspection Instructions"
- People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals: "The Plantain, Starchy, Sweet, Oily Goodness"