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I was at Cotsco the other day and was ecstatic to see that they had 3 lbs of green plantains (platanos) for $1.15! I repeat to all Boricuas reading this blog THREE POUNDS for a DOLLAR FIFTEEN!1!!

WOW!  In my area there aren't many Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, or Cubans, which makes platanos a rarity.  Buying ONE platano can run you anywhere from $.50 to even $1.00.  Sometimes it's annoying to pay that much for something I use to get in NYC for so cheap, eight for a dollar.  It's funny because most people over here don't even know what they are.  I was standing in front of the platanos with a huge smile on my face when this lady asked "What are those?  Are they bananas?"  I then went into a long explanation, which I don't think she wanted to here, but that I wanted to share all the same.  Ignorant Gringos (KIDDING).

So for all of you who don't know here is a platano or as non-hispanics might say plantains:

Platanos / plantains are a fruit, but considered a vegetable.  For argument's sake call it a vegetable unless you want to get into a heated argument with a Puerto Rican, Dominican, or Cuban.  Platanos are usually mistaken for a banana because they look and smell like bananas.  However, unlike a banana, a platano CANNOT be eaten raw and are hard to peel.  Platanos are used in many Hispanic dishes.

When the platano is green it acts like a starchy vegetable (like a Yucca Root or Potato).  When it's green it can be thinly cut and fried into a chip.  However, the most popular forms of the green platano is in mofongo (a yummy dish), pasteles (another yummy dish) and / or  tostones, a staple side dish in most Puerto Rican homes.

When the platano is ripen (yellow - black) it becomes more like a banana.  It is sweet and has a great aroma.  We, Hispanics, call ripe platanos Maduro or Amarillo.  You can use maduros / amarillos in desserts (like Pionoonos) or as a sweet side dish.

So, that is a crash course on Platano 101. I will introduce some recipes in later blogs.

The next time you want something delish to eat either as a snack, dessert, appetizer, or side dish consider using the versatile and yummy PLATANO.


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