How To Know When A Plantain Is Ripe Enough To Boil, Fry Or Buy

Plantain, plantain, plantain. Boiled or fried or crisped, this relative of the banana is one of the most versatile foods we’ve come across. It sits just as well with a plate of Sunday dinner as it does mashed up in a cake, so you’re certainly not going to run out of options.

But if you’re new to using plantain, you might find it hard to know when plantain is good to use. Like when you start doing anything new, there’s a learning curve. But fret not – we’re here to demystify the whole thing.

Let’s kick off with one question we’re always hearing.

Can You Cook Green Plantains?

Can You Cook Green Plantains?

If you want a simple answer – yes!

But to elaborate a bit, it really depends on what you’re making. If you’re mashing it up for a plantain cake, you’re going to want ripe plantains – that is, yellow to brown, bordering on black. If you’re after any kind of dessert, ripe plantains will be where it’s at.

Now, if you’re making something savory, this is really up to you and your personal preference. You can make plantain chips with green or ripe plantains, whichever suits you better. Yellow plantains can still be boiled (though very ripe ones tend to end up a bit too mushy), and any color of plantain can be fried. Why not buy a bunch of green plantains and experiment? You can cook one while it’s green, the next yellow, the next brown. Then you’ll be able to see which taste you like the best.

On that note…

How Long Does It Take For Plantains To Ripen?

How Long Does It Take For Plantains To Ripen?

Sorry to give a vague answer, but it kind of depends! The heat and light conditions where you store them will have a big role to play, though. On average, it can take a plantain between one to two weeks to fully ripen. But you can speed that up or slow that down.

How To Ripen Plantains Faster

How To Ripen Plantains Faster

Follow these steps to make your plantains ripen faster:

  1. Choose a warm, well-ventilated place, such as on top of your refrigerator
  2. Put the plantains in a paper bag next to each other (not in a bunch)
  3. Add an apple to the bag – it releases ethylene gas that makes plantains ripen quicker
  4. Do not allow anyone to handle the bag
  5. Check the plantains every three days or so

How To Keep Plantains Green

How To Keep Plantains Green

If you love your plantains green, but you’ve got a whole bunch, you might not be able to eat them in time before they ripen. But you have two options to keep your plantains green. 1. Stick them in the refrigerator. 2. Immerse them in cold water – maybe in a plastic container – and leave them there until you want to use them. Both these methods reduce enzyme activities in the plantain, preventing it from ripening fast.


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