- How long does it take for plantains to grow? – From planting to harvesting
- What is a plantain?
- How to plant plantain?
- Plantains, A Cuban Favorite
- Where Do Plantains Grow?
- Plantain 101: What Is A Plantain?
- 24 Oct Plantain 101: What Is A Plantain?
How long does it take for plantains to grow? – From planting to harvesting
This information will be highly important for those who are planning to grow plantains. We will tell you all the features of the growing process. It’s quite easy but interesting and profitable!
What is a plantain?
Musa paradisiaca or plantain is a large-leaved fruit tree, the fruits are similar looking as bananas, but unlike bananas, plantain fruit doesn’t ripen yellow but stays green. The plantain fruit isn’t eaten raw, but it is good to boil, fry or steam.
Plantain is very widespread plant throughout the tropics. Plantain and banana is an important source of carbohydrate on the African continent. This is a good source for a local farmer to get some revenue.
READ ALSO: Ostrich farming in Nigeria: How to start and succeed
Many farmers grow the plantain in the backyard. The price for this plant is growing so, farmers are interested in growing more plantains.
How to plant plantain?
1. Where do plantains grow?
First, we should choose the right place for the plant. The field should be easily accessible. The place should be well-drained, find the place that is free from any floods. One of the main requirements is that the soil must be rich in organic matter, especially in black soil.
2. Prepare the field
One should prepare the field with a minimum disturbance to the soil. Manual clearing is more preferred to mechanical. It is better to use mulch in the case of perennial cultivation. After cutting the trees do not remove the stumps, in this case, the trees can grow again.
The recommended distance between the plantain rows is 3 m or 2 m. It is also possible to leave 2.5 m of a spacing distance. In the case of 2.5 m spacing, 1 hectare should contain 1600 plants. The farmer should align the rows to give plants a needed amount of sunlight.
4. Selecting the cultivars
If you are planning the field cultivation, it is better to choose medium plantains. Giant plantains are more likely to be damaged. Horn plantains can’t give you a big amount of yield, the farmer can choose between French or a False Horn plantain.
5. Preparing the suckers
Suckers can be easily separated from their mother plant with a machete or spade. Be careful not to damage the sucker corm. The cutting of the pseudostem is to reduce bulkiness. A freshly peeled healthy corm is white, and unhealthy corms are usually with black spots.
It is better to destroy the sucker with infestation and brown or black spots. The preparation or peeling of sucker is carried out in the field where the planting material is collected. Prepared corms should be dried for a few days, but not under direct sunlight.
6. The process of planting
The sucker should be just placed in a special hole and the corm should be covered with soil. Plant the plant after all necessary field preparation. The holes should have about 30 cm x 30 cm size.
7. Choosing the best time to plant
It is better to plant the plantains in the time of rainy season. The plant should grow without stress and vigorously during the first 3 to 4 months after planting, so don’t plant it during the last months of the rainy season. Many farmers plant the plantain with the beginning of rains. But the best decision is to plant the plantain in the middle of the rainy season.
8. The mulching process
Organic matter is highly important for plantain cultivation essentially if the field was in use for a long time. Organic matters stimulate root development, decrease soil temperature, improve soil drainage, and increase soil porosity.
The field esquires mulch from plants and/or manure from animals. The mulch should cover the soil completely.
Do not forget that to get a good and stable harvest you need to fertilize the soil regularly. You can use organic fertilizers or inorganic fertilizers. With the usage of inorganic fertilizers, the farmer can easily handle the concentrated nutrients.
Organic fertilizers are good to improve the soil moisture retention and biological activity, they prevent weed and erosion. The best time for application of fertilizer is 1 month after planting.
10. Controlling the weeds
Plantains must be protected from weeds. Weed control starts on the stage of field preparation. The farmer should control the weed treading every 6 or 8 weeks. The herbs or grasses are the most pernicious because they need the same nutriment as plantains. Weeds can be controlled by chemical means, through mulching or manually. Mulching is considered as the most efficient means.
The space between plants can be used for other plants, with a short life cycle, for example, yam, groundnut, and maize. Plantains give a good shade for young coffee and cocoa plants.
Plantain plants are always needed some support from 1 or 2 wooden props, usually made of bamboo. This will help to save the plant from fractures and ensure normal growth.
13. Harvesting time
The farmer needs between 8 to 9 months for all precautions and care to get the first harvest. The new bunch ripens within a week. Be careful not to drop the bunch when the main plant is cut.
Now you know how to grow plantains, the process is not so simple but it gives a good result. The cultivation of plantain can become a profitable business, it does not necessarily to start with a large field, you can plant your first plantain even in the backyard.
READ ALSO: How to start plantain farming in Nigeria
Nicknamed “plant with a thousand uses”, this giant and benevolent herb holds a singular place in the traditional medicinal practices of the French West Indies.
- Leaves : Directly applied to wounds, has an antibiotic and healing action. When mixed with sugar, it is used to treat: cold, flu, cough, hypertension and liver crisis. Heated, it is applied to help treat rheumatism.
- Sap (latex) : Extracted by pressure either of the leaf seeds or of the male bud, the sap (or latex) is used in local application on superficial wounds. It stops bleeding and promotes healing.
- Flower : In decoction, it improves lactation and regulates the menstrual cycle of women. It also helps fight anemia by increasing blood hemoglobin levels.
- Green Banana : In powder form, it is an excellent source of probiotic. It promotes the reconstruction of the mucosa of the stomach.
- Very ripe banana : In paste form, it is applied locally against acne, bruises, oily skin. In decoction, it is advised against bronchitis, cough, tracheitis.
- Roots : Used as a herbal tea it has a strong antifungal activity. Bent, they are applied locally against abscesses and adenitis. They are used as a decoction against cough.
Plantains, A Cuban Favorite
If I had to pick one ingredient that shouts “Cuban cooking” to me, it would have to be the plantain. Cubans seem to have adopted this large banana-like fruit as their own, giving it a special place not only in their kitchens but also their lives. As noted in A Taste of Old Cuba, when a foreigner becomes fully integrated with Cuban culture and customs, he is aplatanado, which is to say that he has been “plantainized.”
But for all their pride of ownership, Cubans can’t claim plantains as their native plant. The fruit probably originated in India and landed in the Caribbean via the Spanish settlers. Plantains are cheap, versatile, and highly nutritious (they’re a good source of potassium, fiber, and vitamin C), so it’s no wonder they’ve become a major crop in this region, as well as throughout Latin and South America.
When it comes to cooking, plantains are really more of a vegetable than a fruit. They’re larger and firmer than their banana relative, and they’re not sweet: They must be cooked to become palatable. With their bland, starchy, somewhat potato-like flavor, plantains take well to many cooking methods. In Cuba, as well as in Miami and other Cuban communities, plantains are often sliced and deep-fried to make chips, or panfried to make tostones, a crisp smashed plantain appetizer or side dish that’s delicious plain or dipped in a garlicky lime sauce. Tostones are practically the Cuban national dish. Cubans also like to cube plantains and add them to stews, boil and purée them like mashed potatoes, or bake them with sugar and cinnamon for dessert.
Buying plantains. You’ll find plantains year-round at most Hispanic markets, and I’ve often spied them in supermarkets. If you don’t see them, ask the produce manager, who can usually order them.
A fascinating aspect of plantains is that, as they ripen, they seem to transform into a new ingredient. I usually buy six or seven very green, unripe plantains. I pan-fry half of them within a day or two for tostones, and I’ll let the rest ripen on my counter. After several days, they start turning yellow and speckled with black spots. At this point, they’re semiripe, ideal for boiling and mashing. I wait several more days until they’re fully ripe and their starches have turned to sugars to make baked sweet plantains. The plantains will be black and mushy, so fight your instinct to toss them out. Rest assured, this is the plantain’s sweetest moment and your cue to start baking.
To hasten ripening, put the plantains in a paper bag and leave them at room temperature. Don’t use a plastic bag, as the trapped humidity will cause the fruit to get moldy.
How to peel a green plantain
Ripe, black plantains can be peeled like a banana, but green ones have very firm, clingy flesh, and there’s a trick to peeling them. (The slightly sticky substance under the skin can irritate sensitive skin, so wear gloves if you like.) Start by trimming the ends. To make rounds, as for tostones, cut the plantain in half crosswise. With a sharp paring knife, score the skin along one or more of its ridges, being careful not to cut into the flesh, and then peel off the skin in sections.
Where Do Plantains Grow?
Plantains are native to India and are grown in Florida, West Africa, Central Africa, the Caribbean and other places with a tropical climate. Plantains have been grown in Florida since the 16th century, though because the area can freeze during the winter, the state is only credited with a small fraction of the global plantain crop. Over 100 different varieties of plantains are grown in Africa.
In order to grow, plantains need consistently warm temperatures and protection from strong winds. The vegetable grows on trees and resembles a longer version of the banana. The skin of a plantain can be green, yellow or black. Plantain plants produce crops year round and for many years, up to 100 or more. Bananas are a subspecies of plantains. They are smaller, sweeter and are eaten raw as a fruit. Plantains are starchy and are typically eaten after being cooked. Black plantains are considered ripe and are sometime eaten raw.
Plantains are a major food staple in Latin America, Africa and Asia. Plantain cultivation accounts for approximately 19 percent of musa plant variations grown worldwide as of 2013. As of the same year, approximately 15 percent of global plantain production is traded internationally. The remaining 85 percent is consumed domestically.
Plantain 101: What Is A Plantain?
24 Oct Plantain 101: What Is A Plantain?
Posted at 15:53h in All Posts by admin
At first sight, it’s easy to mistake a plantain for a banana. There are several different varieties of banana-like foods, which are all part of the same family, but taste very different from each other.
Plantain trees grow best in moisture-rich, tropical climates and since they don’t have a growing season they are available year-round. This makes them a very valuable, reliable food source in countries across the globe from Central and South America to the Caribbean, Africa, and Southeast Asia. Plantains are part of the Musa paradisiaca family.
So is The Plantain A Fruit or a Vegetable? According to Fruit and Veggies – More Matters, the plantain is actually. . . a fruit! Similar to the tomato, which is a fruit consumed as a vegetable, the plantain is also consumed as a vegetable.
STAGES OF RIPENESS
Unlike the banana, plantains must be cooked prior to eating. There are many ways to consume the plantain – it can be steamed, boiled, grilled, baked or fried. They are starchier and lower in sugar than bananas which makes them much more versatile as a cooking ingredient. They are often utilized in a meal just as one would a starchy vegetable (potatoes, for example) depending on the stage of ripeness.
Plantains can be eaten and taste different at each stage of development, though the interior color of the fruit will remain creamy, yellowish or lightly pink. When the peel is green to yellow, the flavor of the flesh is bland and has a starchy texture. Raw green plantains must be cooked prior to eating. This is the optimal stage to make savory foods such as tostones, which are versatile, tender, and crunchy.
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. When prepared at this stage, plantains can be used to make sweet, filling, and satisfying platanos maduros.
Plantains are rich sources of complex carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals, and are easily digestible. As a staple food, plantains have been the main fare of millions of people for centuries. Fresh plantains also have more potassium than bananas
HOW TO PREPARE PLANTAINS
Traditionally, plantains must be peeled, sliced, and cooked prior to consuming. Here at MIC Food® we are helping chefs, restaurants, industrial kitchens, retail brands, delis, and others in the food industry rethink their menus and increase appeal among ethnic and mainstream consumers alike. We provide variety of plantain products that come peeled and cut, ready-to-heat and serve, saving you hours of prep time so you can focus on what matters the most: making every meal memorable.
Ask Our Chef about how you can incorporate plantains into your menu! Or read up on our Big Banana® brand to find which product best suits you.
Hungry for more? Check out our recipe library which highlights how versatile plantains are.
You may have seen these before in the tropical fruit section of your grocery store. You know, where the pineapples and coconuts hang out? At first glance, it looks like a banana. But when you pick it up, you realize it’s bigger, firmer and has a thick skin. It’s not a banana—it’s a plantain.
I’m originally from Puerto Rico, so I’ve pretty much been eating plantains all my life. It’s one of the ingredients I’m asked about the most. I think most people are confused because it looks so much like a banana but it doesn’t peel like a banana, taste (much) like a banana, and it isn’t eaten like a banana. The plantain is a starchy cousin of the banana, and all that added starch means it almost always needs to be cooked before it can be eaten.
Plantains hold a special place in my heart. As a child, I’ve had many a dinnertime battle over the last tostone (fried plantain). In fact, as much as I’ve moved around in my adult life, I always joke and say I’ll live anywhere as long as I am within a 5-mile radius of plantains.
Where does it come from?
Plantains can be found all over the Caribbean and Central America, but they were not always native to these areas. Plantains are indigenous to the tropical regions of Southeast Asia. They made their way along trade routes to Africa and then were brought to the Caribbean by the Spanish and African slave traders. The plantain eventually became a staple ingredient in the Caribbean.
How do I peel it?
Peeling a plantain is not like peeling a banana. Especially when it’s green. Let’s peel a green plantain!
You need a plantain and a paring knife.
First, cut the ends of the plantain.
Score the skin, trying not to cut into the flesh itself. Do this along the “seams” of the plantain, a total of 4 times.
Then put the blade of the knife into one the “slices” and pry the skin up, like so. Again, try your best not to cut the plantain itself.
Once you have pried off an entire section of the peel, you can pry the rest of the skin by lifting it and running your fingers under the skin. The skin will come off in 4 whole pieces. Be patient your first time and try not to use your nails, because it can get nasty and it can hurt you under your nails. Trust me, I’ve made this rookie mistake. If you have trouble prying it with your fingers, just use the knife again.
Tada! You have a peeled plantain!
As a plantain ripens, its skin becomes leathery, so it’s still difficult to peel like a banana. Although a ripe one is easier to peel than a green one, it’s still best to follow the same steps above.
How do I know it’s ripe?
I’ve been talking about ripe plantains, but how do you know a plantain is ripe? Many people think a ripe plantain is a plantain that has gone bad, but that’s when they are their sweetest! A ripe plantain is best when it’s mostly black with a little yellow, and still slightly firm to the touch, like when you squeeze a peach. Although completely black plantains are still good to eat, they are a little too soft, making them difficult to prepare. But they’re still delicious.
It’s usually hard to find ripe ones at the grocery store. Typically, plantains have to be purchased green and left to ripen on the counter. Depending on the time of year and temperature, they can take anywhere from a few days to a week to ripen. If you’re in search of ripe plantains, your best bet would be your local Asian or Latin market.
How do I eat it?
The question should be how not to eat a plantain! There are many, many ways to eat a plantain and it all depends on where it lands on the ripeness scale. This is why I affectionally call it “the incredible edible plantain.”
The simplest preparation for plantains, green or ripe, is fried. When green, they are very starchy and are best served as tostones, which are twice-fried plantains. They can also be thinly sliced and fried to make chips. As they ripen, the starches turn into sugars, and when fried, the sugars caramelize and create sweet crispy edges.
What does it taste like?
I think they taste like heaven, but that could be because I’m biased. As I’ve mentioned before, my favorite is tostones—crispy on the outside and starchy on the inside, kind of like french fries. I like to dip my tostones in fry sauce.
Ripe plantains are sweet like a banana, without the banana flavor. They can be eaten raw but are best when fried. The edges caramelize and become crispy like the edges of pancakes cooked in butter. Those edges are my favorite! I love to pair fried sweet plantains with a side of beans and rice.
Plantain chips make a great crispy snack. When I was in high school, I used to order a bag of plantain chips and a cold Malta for my afternoon snack. Best snack ever.
So grab some plantains and trying your hand at making plantain chips! I’ve included a recipe here for garlic-flavored chips, but they’re equally wonderful with a simple sprinkle of salt or lime zest, cayenne, or chili powder. Trust me, you can’t just eat one.
Garlic Plantain Chips
September 3, 2015 0
Prep Time: 45 Minutes Difficulty: Easy Cook Time: 15 Minutes Servings: 8 Servings
- 4 Green Plantains
- 6 cups Vegetable Oil, For Frying
- Salt And Granulated Garlic, To Taste
Thinly slice plantains into chips with a mandoline. Soak in a bowl of salted cold water for 30 minutes.
Heat oil in a 5-quart heavy pot over moderate heat until a deep-fry thermometer registers 375°F.
Drain plantains and pat dry. Working in batches, fry the chips, agitating them with a fork so they don’t sick together. Fry for 30 to 45 seconds or until golden. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a plate lined with paper towels, sprinkle with salt and granulated garlic.
Let cool and serve. Can be stored in an airtight container for up to 4 days before they start to get stale.
Meseidy (Meh-say-dee) is a wife and mother to three four-legged children (including an ornery Terrier). Graduate of Platt College Culinary Arts Institute. Landlocked Puerto Rican who must be within a five-mile radius of a plantain at all times. She works as a chef, recipe developer, caterer, event planner, and food stylist. She cooks and blogs from her tiny 250 sqft house in Dallas, TX. She created The Noshery in 2008 after realizing how much her husband and she missed the food back home in Puerto Rico. At The Noshery you’ll find recipes that are always from scratch, ideas inspired by my travels, and cooking techniques I’ve learned along my journey from home-cook to chef—plus some life misadventures, DIY and craft tips, and doggie shenanigans thrown in to keep you on your toes. Her dishes reflect her life as a former military brat with a pinch from here and dash from there. But Puerto Rico and its authentic cooking will always be home. She loves pairing interesting ingredients together and is always on a mission to create the perfect bite.
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Have you ever come across what looks like a huge green banana at the grocery store and gotten a little too excited about your big banana score? That was definitely how I felt when I saw plantains for the first time, a fruit that’s closely related to the banana. But plantains and bananas are different and equally amazing in their own ways.
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Plantains are a member of the banana family, but have a completely different taste and means of preparation. They are starchier and lower in sugar, so that means they stay green even when they’re ripe. Unlike the banana, they typically aren’t eaten raw. Their tough texture and starchiness make for a rather unappealing snack—along the same lines as snacking on a raw potato.
Plantains are found in Latin, Caribbean, and African cuisines as delicious side dishes or cooked into the main course. They’re treated as a vegetable rather than a fruit, accompanying savory dishes like casado or arepas.Elizabeth Unger
The plantain’s cousin, the banana, is a much more traditional food in the US. Bananas are very versatile; they’re eaten in smoothies, on toast, in baked goods like banana bread and banana cream pie, or just on their own. They’re much smaller than plantains, yellow when ripe, and have thinner skin.
Though they’re prepared in different ways, plantains and bananas do share some similarities. There are physical characteristics they share, like their curved shape and similar size and color. They’re both highly nutritious, providing potassium, magnesium, dietary fiber, and Vitamin C. This means eating either one will aid your muscle function, create DNA, help digestion, and prevent cell damage.
The main takeaway here is that a plantain is its own thing, not just an XL banana. It will not cooperate if you try to prepare it as such, so please do not attempt to make a plantain peanut butter smoothie or a plantain pie. Even though plantains may not be the bananas on your shopping list, there are so many ways to make use of them too—you may as well get them since you’re already at the store.