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Bananas and Plantains

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In this Lesson you will Learn

  1. What are plantains?
  2. How to ripen a banana quickly
  3. When is a plantain ripe?

Bananas are the most popular fruit in the US. Americans usually eat sweet bananas, which are meant to be consumed as they are, but cooking bananas (called plantains) are also available and are actually staples in many cuisines, including African cuisine. Plantains are generally prepared as a vegetable, or as a dessert when fully ripe.

Choose sweet bananas based on how soon you plan on using them and for what purpose (so green bananas if you are going to be waiting a few days, or already browning bananas if you're making banana bread!) If your recipe calls for ripe bananas and you only have green ones, stick the green bananas in a closed paper bag to speed up the ripening process. This process takes some time, of course, so if you need ripe bananas immediately you might give the oven method a try.

Plantains change from green to yellow to black as they ripen, but they can be prepared at any stage of ripeness depending on how you want to eat them. Pay attention to what the recipe specifies!

Bananas and plantains grow year round in tropical climates.

Nutrition DNA

The nutrition DNA of one bananas and plantains. For example, you can see that 1 banana covers 49% of your daily need of Sugar and 22% of the recommended Vitamin B6 intake. Hover over the bars to see which nutrient is covered.



  1. Plantains are cooking bananas common in African cuisine.
  2. Bananas can be ripened faster by putting them in a closed paper bag.
  3. Plantains are black when fully ripe.
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