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A plantain is a close relative of the banana, but it is usually more starchy and not as sweet, so they must also typically be cooked before they are eaten. Plantains can either be cooked with the peels on or off. Roasted plantains can also be seasoned and cut up before they are cooked. They are typically roasted in a very hot oven until they are soft.
Plantains are members of the banana family, and they often look very similar to bananas. They are a bit longer, however, and they have thicker skins. These fruits can have green or yellow skins before they are ripe, and very dark brown skins after they have ripened.
Since plantains are typically more starchy than sweet, they are almost always cooked before they are eaten. Plantains can be cooked a number of ways. Some people prefer deep frying plantains, but mashed plantains and roasted plantains are also very popular.
Roasted plantains can sometimes be cooked with the peels on. Most people recommend removing the peel from this fruit before cooking it, though. Peeling plantains will often leave stains on the hands and fingers, so rubber or plastic gloves can be worn to prevent this.
Peeling a plantain is typically more difficult than peeling a banana. The ends of the fruit should first be removed using a sharp knife. A slit can then be cut down the length of the fruit. After this slit is made, the peel can usually be removed from the flesh easily.
When making roasted plantains, most people prefer to cut the flesh into slices or chunks. If it is not cooked right away, the flesh of this fruit can become discolored, just like the flesh of a banana. To prevent discoloration on roasted plantains, the flesh can be covered with cold plain water or cold salt water. A bit of lemon juice can also help prevent discoloration.
Most people also prefer to season their roasted plantains. Salt and pepper can be sprinkled onto the flesh for simple seasonings. Chile pepper or cayenne pepper can also be used for spicy roasted plantains. Oil can be used to cover the flesh as well.
Once the plantain flesh has been seasoned and covered in oil, it is then usually laid out on a baking sheet and slid into a hot oven. Most culinary experts recommend making roasted plantains in an oven that has been preheated to around 400° or 450° F (about 205° or 232° C). The plantains are also usually flipped about halfway through the cooking time, which will usually take around 30 minutes. When the outsides of the flesh are browned and the pieces are soft, they can be taken out of the oven and served.
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