I often get asked, what is the difference between a plantain and a banana?
What is a Plantain? Plantains are a member of the banana family. They are a starchy, low in sugar variety that is cooked before serving as it is unsuitable raw. It is used in many savory dishes somewhat like a potato would be used and is very popular in Western Africa and the Caribbean countries. It is usually fried or baked - but usually NEVER eaten raw like a banana.
Plantains are native to Belize and grow abundantly in our tropical rain forest climate. Plantains are sometimes referred to as the pasta & potatoes of the Caribbean. Plantains are a staple to the Belizean people. Plantains are sold at most road side produce stands or grocery stores in Belize. They usually resemble green bananas but when ripe, plantains are black in color.
This vegetable tastes different at every stage of its development. The interior color of the fruit will remain creamy, yellowish or lightly pink (as seen in the pictures below). When the peel is green to yellow, the flavor of the flesh is bland and its texture is starchy. As the peel changes to brown or black, it has a sweeter flavor and more of a banana aroma, but still keeps a firm shape when cooked.
The plantain averages about 65% in moisture content, whereas a banana averages about 83% in moisture content. A banana is ready to eat when the skin is yellow whereas a plantain is not ready to eat "out of hand" until the skin is almost black.