Plantains vs. Banana

Plantains vs. Banana

Plantains and banana are flowering plants that belong to the banana family. Plantains is native to India and Caribbean, while banana originates from India and Southeast Asia. These two plants are cultivated in more than 107 countries around the world today, mostly as a source of food, but also for the manufacture of banana wine and beer and as a source of fibers. Both plantains and banana grow in warm areas with tropical climate, on the rich, moist soil. Plantains prefers wind-free areas. Plantains and banana are rich source of dietary fibers, vitamins of the B complex, vitamins A and C and minerals such as potassium, magnesium and phosphorus. Despite similar shape, usage and growing conditions, plantains and banana differ in:

Color and Size

Plantains is larger and longer than banana and has thicker skin. Unripe plantains is green, just like unripe banana, but fully ripe plantains is black, unlike yellow-colored ripe banana. Inner part of plantains is creamy, yellowish or pinkish colored, while banana has creamy-colored flesh. Banana has smooth surface, while plantains has prominent edges, brown spots and rough sections on the surface.

Taste and Energetic Value

Plantains is less sweet than banana. Green plantains is flavorless and very starchy. Ripe plantains has sweeter, banana-like flavor, but its texture remains firm. Unlike plantains, ripe banana is soft and very sweet. Even though it is less sweet than banana, 100 g of plantains contains 122 calories, while 100 g of banana contains 89 calories.

Amount of Sugar and Water

Plantains is starchy and contains less sugar than banana. It also contains less water, only 65%, while banana contains 83% of water. Since conversion of starch into sugar completes faster in more "watery" fruit, banana becomes tasty and sweet much faster, while its skin is still yellow. Unlike in banana, conversion of starch into sugar in plantains takes more time and finishes usually when its skin becomes black colored.

Usage

Raw plantains is inedible due to high starch content and firm texture and it needs to be thermally processed before consumption. Plantains can be fried, roasted or baked and it is used mostly as vegetable. Plantains is especially popular in Latin America and Western Africa where it is frequently used for the preparation of various savory dishes, usually mixed with rice and beans. It can be used as a substitute for potato due to high content of starch. Unlike plantains, banana is sweet and soft, and it usually consumed fresh or used for the preparation of numerous desserts (tarts, cookies, ice-creams, fruit salads) and smoothies. Both plantains and banana can be consumed in the form of chips. Chips made of plantains tastes like potato chips.

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