Monday 1 December 2014


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Bananas and plantains can be confused as they look quite similar.  Plantains are in fact closely related to the banana and there is no formal botanical distinction between the two.  

Both bananas and plantains are fruits produced from the herbaceous plant Musa. There is no sharp distinction between bananas and plantains, although they are often distinguished by the way they are consumed.

Bananas are sweet and eaten as a fruit, whilst plantains are starchy and eaten as a vegetable. Plantains are longer than bananas with a thicker skin. They may be used when green, yellow or black, unlike bananas that are consumed when they are yellow and considered overripe when they are black. 


A plantain is one of the cultivated varieties of the genus Musa. All modern plantain cultivars have three sets of chromosomes and many are hybrids derived from the cross of two wild species, Musa acuminata and Musa balbisiana

Plantains are native to India and grown widely in tropical climates. They are very popular in Western African and Caribbean countries. 

They look like green bananas, turning black in colour when they are ripe.   but they longer, with thicker skins that have natural brown spots and rough areas. However they are starchy, rather than sweet, and therefore unsuitable to eat raw.  

Their fruit is intended to be consumed only after cooking or other processing, rather than being eaten raw. They are used as a vegetable in many Latin American and African recipes, baked or fried in savoury dishes similar to a potato. 

When the peel is green to yellow, the flavour of the flesh is bland and its texture is starchy. As the plantain ripens and the peel changes to brown or black, it has a sweeter flavour and more of a banana aroma, but still keeps a firm shape when cooked. Plantains in the yellow to black stages can be used in sweet dishes.

Like bananas plantains are a good source of potassium and fibre.  However they contain significantly more vitamin A and C.


A banana is an edible fruit, produced by several kinds of large herbaceous flowering plants in the genus MusaMusa species are native to tropical Indomalaya and Australia, but are now grown in at least 107 countries. 

The fruits grow in clusters hanging from the top of the plant. Bananas are variable in size, colour and firmness depending on cultivar, but is usually elongated and curved, with soft sweet flesh covered with a rind which will change from green to yellow to black as it ripens. 

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