Plantains are one of the most popular fruits in Venezuela, probably because they are produced year-round around the country and they are easily grown. However, plantains are not easy to eat like bananas. Please don’t buy a plantain, peel it and try to bite into it like you would with a banana. Plantains must be cooked before you eat them.
Plantains are delicious and can be cooked in many different ways. Plantains can also be cooked differently depending on the stage of the plantain, which is great, because you don’t have to wait for a plantain to ripen to eat it, and you don’t have to throw away those overripe ones. You can use unripe (green), ripe (yellow) or overripe (black) plantains. If you like plantains you can buy yellow, green or even black from the supermarket and make them according to their color. Also, don’t store them in the fridge.
Unripe | Green | Plátano Verde
Unripe or green plantains have very hard skin and pulp. The flavor of this stage of the plantain is not sweet, but sharp. You can use unripe plantains to cook in broths and soups, as well as to make delicious Tostones (fried plantains with salt).
Ripe | Yellow | Pintón | Maduro
Ripe plantains look mostly yellow with only a few black spots, but very little. These are the most versatile in terms of cooking, because they can be either salty or sweet. With ripe plantains you can cook Tajadas (fried slices of plantains), or Torta de Plátano (plantain cake).
Overripe | Black | Plátano Pasado
The skin of overripe plantains is almost all black, and the pulp is kind of sticky and soft to the touch, like a ripe banana. The flavor of this plantain is very sweet, and it can be caramelized easily. It also takes the less time to cook. This stage of the plantain works best for deserts, puréed and also simply baking the plantain and eating with butter or cheese on top.