Plantains are only eaten when cooked. They are like a hard, green-skinned banana, but have a firmer texture and are not as sweet. As they ripen they become yellow and softer. Because of their firmness, they keep their shape well when cooked. In Latin America they are used in the same way as potatoes. Sweet potatoes or yams can be used if plantain is not available.
Uses: Sprinkle barbecued plantain with brown sugar and rum. They can also be added to chicken casseroles to make African style stews or boiled and mashed to make a Caribbean mash.
To store: Store at room temperature until needed. Even if the skin turns black, the quality of the fruit will be unaffected.
To prepare: Peel them under water - to prevent them staining your hands - and slice.
To cook: To barbecue, slit the skin from end to end and cook in the skin, turning frequently. To boil, cut into chunks and cook in boiling water for 10-15 minutes or until tender.