How to Ripen Plantains

Plantain is a tropical fruit and is popular in the Caribbean, Africa, and Tropical countries like Jamaica and Puerto Rico. In Southeast Asia, plantains are considered to be indigenous. In a South American country like Guyana, plantain is cooked together with their national dish. 

Some confuse this as a ripe banana, but it is actually not. Although it is considered a starchy member of the banana family, it has its own unique flavor profile and culinary use. If you are not very familiar with this fruit, allow us to teach you more of it. In this article, we tackle how to ripen plantains quickly and the signs of a ripen plantain.

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What are the Steps on How to Ripen Plantain

1. Let them sit undisturbed

Plantains ripe faster when they are unbothered. Place them in an area where children cannot reach them or they are not frequently touched. Also, this will keep them from being chewed by kids and pets. The best place for this would be a high shelf.

2. Give it enough time to ripen

You do not need to be in a rush if you want to let plantains ripen naturally. They will probably taste better when they are ripe than when they have been picked green. A ripe plantain takes seven to eleven days to ripen. If you grow them at room temperature, they will be ready sooner than if you store them in a cooler place. Ripe plantains look like dark green brownish-yellow fruits with some wrinkles. They are usually firm but not hard. You should not poke a plantain too hard when you think it has ripened because you will damage its skin if you do so.

How To Ripen Plantains Naturally
How To Ripen Plantains Naturally – let the bunch sit in a warm but ventilated area for 10 days.

3. Wrap them

Wrapping plantains in a brown paper bag will help them ripen properly. Make sure the bag is clean. You can also wrap them in newspaper or linen clothes and keep them in a warm area. In that way, the fruit will release ethylene gas, which makes them mature properly in a banana-like taste and texture. 

Green plantains or unripe plantains wrapped with either brown bags, newspapers, or linen cloths should be unbothered for at least 6 days for a proper ripening process. 

4. Place in the kitchen and check regularly

After wrapping them, choose a place in the kitchen where green plantain can undergo the ripening process undisturbed. Keep them out of reach from pets and away from where people regularly pass by. Know that a well-ventilated and warm environment can help plantain naturally undergo the ripening process well. 

How to Ripen Plantain Faster

If you want to ripen your sweet plantain faster than it usually does, here are three ways that you can do it. 

1. Bury them in a jar of uncooked rice

To do this, get a large bowl filled with uncooked rice and bury the green plantain for at least 3 days. That way, the ethylene gas from the uncooked rice will help speed up the stage of ripeness. Check them every day to know when the plantain is at peak ripeness. 

2. Tie them with a straw

Tying the plantain with straw is a common way of ripening them. To do this tip, simply get a straw and tie it somewhere above to keep it well-ventilated, uncovered, and making the airflow in and out. Tie them up for 3-4 days, and you will already get the sweet plantain you have been waiting for.

3. Expose them to smoke

This may sound weird but it actually helps! People who plant plantain know this secret. To do this, here are the steps to follow. 

3.1 Dig a large hole in your backyard or wherever space you have that can contain a bunch of plantains. 

3.2 Place the green plantains or unripe plantains and cover them with wood or something that cannot be moved by animals and pets. 

3.3 Light a fire using dry pieces of wood and leaves. Make sure that the hot smoke passes through the plantains. You can also use a bamboo funnel or anything with a cylinder-shaped opening to let the smoke pass directly through the fruit. 

 3.4 Let it smoke for at least 2-3 minutes, three times a day. 

3.5 Leave the plantain overnight and check it the next morning. It should be ready.

Can you ripen plantains in the oven
Can you ripen plantains in the oven? – Yes this is a good way to get warm soft plantains.

How to Know When Plantains Are Ripe (Signs of Ripe Plantain)

1. Changes of green to yellow color

The first sign of ripe plantain is that its color changes from green to yellow. This means that the plantain is getting ripe. The color change happens gradually. It starts as a slight change in color and then becomes more obvious. Once you see the color change, you can start checking the other signs of ripe plantain.

2. Soft to touch

Plantains become soft when they are ripe. Sometimes, you might even hear a cracking noise when you touch them. They feel like jelly when they are ripe.

3. The skin is easier to peel off

When you peel off the skin of ripe plantain, it feels smooth and slippery. But if you try peeling off the skin of unripe plantain, it will be rough and hard to peel off. Moreover, ripe plantain starch develops high starch content, hence its peel also changes to brown or black. But do not wait to have black plantains since they can be too mushy and soggy.

4. Starts smelling sweet

As soon as you smell the aroma of ripe plantain, you will realize how much you have been missing. It smells so good that you just want to eat it right away.

5. Taste test

You can taste the sweetness of the ripe plantain. It tastes sweeter than green plantain.

What Do Ripe Plantains Taste Like

Plantains are ripe when they are yellow-fleshed and sweet similar to ripe a banana. They can be eaten raw but are best cooked. The edges on fried ripe plantains caramelize and crisp up in the same fashion as pancakes brushed with butter. It is best when eaten fried since it gives a sweet flavor along with a side of beans and rice.

On the other hand, in case you are curious, green plantains resemble potatoes and are starchier in texture. They can be fried alongside a yam or even a sweet potato. They may be prepared the same as a potato, depending on when they are harvested. As they get older, they become sweeter.

How long does it take to ripen plantains?

If you want to give it a full ripening process, allow at least one week to ripen it following the tips we have shared above.

Can you ripen plantains in the fridge?

Yes,  but it will be slow, however, you can keep ripe plantains in the refrigerator for about two weeks. However, once you remove them from the refrigerator, make sure to bring them back to room temperature before eating.

Can you cook plantains when they are green?

No, you cannot cook green plantains. Green plantains are actually immature fruits that contain less natural sugars than yellow plantains. So, cooking them would result in a bitter flavor.

How is matured plantain usually eaten?

It is usually eaten as sweet treats. Twice-fried plantains gives the best and easiest way to eat them. Just slice into thin pieces, cook over medium heat in a nonstick skillet, and fry using vegetable oil.

Other Plantain Ideas snacks and uses

Plantain chips are made from fried plantain slices or cubes. They can be served with dips like guacamole, salsa, and peanut butter.

In some countries, plantains are used for making bread, cakes, pies, cookies, and other desserts. Plantain flour is often mixed with other flour such as wheat flour to make a dough that is baked in ovens. In Central America, plantains are often used to make tamales.

Plantains are starchy, yellowish vegetables with a sweet taste. They’re also high in fiber and vitamin C. These tropical fruits are native to Central America, but they’re now grown worldwide.