In the West Indies and parts of Africa, the plantain is a staple. In the last few years, these oversize bananas are showing up all over North America.
They’re good whether they’re green or black. The colours represent different stages of ripening. Choose your plantain ripeness based on when you want to use it (see How to prepare).
To continue ripening, keep fruit at room temperature. Store plantains in the fridge when at desired ripeness. Once ripened to black, they should be as soft as bananas. If they’re not, throw them out.
Unripe green plantains can be cut in pieces and cooked like potatoes. Ripe yellow and black plantains are sweeter and can be boiled with their peels on, then peeled and served as a side dish or added to soups and stews. For a treat, peel ripe plantains, cut into discs and fry them. Sprinkle with icing sugar.