This banana look-alike is often confused with the common fruit, banana.
Although closely related to this tropical fruit, plantain is extremely starchy and must be cooked. It is slightly larger and thicker than the banana.
The plant can reach a height of 10 metres although 4 – 5 metres is the average. The fruit grows in a bunch at the top of the plant. One bunch can weigh up to 15 kilograms.
The green colour on its tough and thick skin indicates that it is “green”. At this stage, it can be boiled and eaten with stewed fish or meat. It can also be deep-fried is sliced very thin; salted plantain chips go extremely well with lager beers.
Green plantains can ripens if put in a brown paper bag for 7 – 10 day, pending on size.
When ripe, the skin turns yellow and the fruit becomes soft. Ripe plantains can be boiled and eaten, or sliced lengthwise and deep-fried.
Plantains are grown and widely used in East African countries, Uganda, Tanzania, Egypt, India, South- and central America and the Caribbean islands. Originally from Southeast Asia, there are two species of plantains – horn and French.
Cooking bananas which are similar to plantains are boiled and served with ackee and salted cod for breakfast in teh Caribbean.