What Is the Difference Between Bananas and Plantains?

In the event you go by seems to be alone, it’s honest to surprise precisely what’s the distinction between plantains and bananas. However although they might look comparable — and it’s completely potential to make use of these two peel-able treats interchangeably in some recipes — plantains aren’t simply bananas in several pajamas.

Right here’s tips on how to inform these two associated (however delightfully distinctive) fruits aside.

Each plantains and bananas come from vegetation belonging to the genus musa, a household of heat-loving herbs native to southeast Asia and the south Pacific. (Banana timber, biologically talking, usually are not timber, however big herbs).

And like your common pair of siblings, bananas and plantains are desirous to show how dissimilar they’re to 1 one other, although they share genes.

Bananas’ and plantains’ individuality actually shines of their distinctive flavors. Bananas are the enjoyable, mellow, and candy recognition queen — the third-most consumed fruit within the U.S. Plantains, however, are a bit more durable to get to know, displaying their candy aspect solely after they attain ripe previous age.

Due to their completely different ranges of starch and sugar, the 2 fruits additionally behave fairly in a different way when cooked. Bananas get tender and pudding-like when heated, good for an oozy, boozy dessert like bananas foster. Plantains — particularly inexperienced ones — are dry and dense, turning crispy if you happen to fry them lengthy sufficient.

We don’t doubt that you understand how to identify a banana, however simply to make clear: After we’re speaking ‘nanners, we imply one particular sort of tropical fruit. That’s the Cavendish banana, an easy-to-peel, candy selection that makes up about 95 % of all commercially offered bananas.

There are different sorts of bananas on the market, and infrequently you’ll find varieties corresponding to creamy crimson bananas or stubby, tart manzanos in shops. However Cavendishes are those you’re seemingly utilizing to high your breakfast cereal or bake into banana bread.

Most Cavendishes are harvested whereas nonetheless underripe and inexperienced, then transported from their tropical rising areas to the nation the place they’ll be offered.

Earlier than reaching retailer cabinets, they endure a synthetic ripening course of utilizing ethylene gasoline that helps them soften, flip yellow, and convert their starches into sugars. With out this step, they’re much less prone to obtain that peak of candy, ripe banana taste.

For essentially the most half, it’s finest to make use of bananas in desserts or different recipes on the sweeter aspect. Nonetheless, very inexperienced, unripe bananas are agency and starchy sufficient for some savory dishes, and can be utilized instead of plantains in a pinch. (Assume: fried in curries, sliced as salad toppers, or as banana chips.)

Plantain species differ from their banana brethren in that they comprise a a lot greater proportion of starch and fewer of the candy stuff. Due to this — we’ll be sincere — they’re not notably nice uncooked.

However, when cooked, plantains have a heavy, filling, potato-like character to them, which has cemented their standing as a staple throughout Latin America, the Caribbean, and west and central Africa.

Plantains are tender and pillowy in dishes like mofongo, or they are often fried to a crisp and eaten like chips if sliced thinly. When utilizing them in savory recipes, you’ll need to search out hardy, agency, inexperienced plantains, that are typically bigger than your common banana.

Ripe plantains (each yellow and black), although nonetheless on the starchy and hard aspect, do have a noticeable sweetness to them, caramelizing properly when cooked. They can be utilized in desserts, however are nonetheless substantial sufficient to pair properly with savory mains.

Strive them sautéed alongside beans and roast pork for a Cuban-style feast, or as an sudden tostada topper.

Want much more fodder to your plantain Pinterest board? Try this run-down of tips on how to make fried inexperienced plantains.

Similar to their look and cooking makes use of, plantains and bananas have shut (however not similar) options in one other space: vitamin. Each have loads of micronutrients, nearly no fats, and only a trace of protein. Bananas supply a bit extra fiber, fewer carbs, and a decrease calorie depend, whereas plantains comprise extra potassium and vitamin C.

Right here’s what you may anticipate nutritionally from 100 grams (about 1/2 cup) of the 2 fruits:

At first look, bananas and plantains have loads of overlapping qualities. However simply because they’re lengthy, yellow, and peel-able doesn’t imply they’re complete twinsies. Every fruit has its personal distinctive taste, texture, cooking strategies, and vitamin profile.

The extra you prepare dinner with them, the extra you’ll get to know their properties — and can discover that evaluating bananas and plantains isn’t apples to oranges.

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