Plantains are currently in Season. Plantains are starchy fruits. They are a cheaper source of carbohydrates (now that they are in season). Unlike the Banana that is often eaten raw, Plantains contain more starch and are mostly cooked.
The top producers of Plantain in the world are in Africa – Uganda, Ghana, Cameroon, Nigeria, and Cote d’ivoire. This is not surprising because plantain grows well in the agro-climatic conditions of the tropics.Uganda and Ghana, however, takes the lead in plantain production in the world.
What Does it Contain?
100g of Raw ripe Plantain contains 136kcal of energy which is mostly from carbohydrates (28.8g). It contains little protein (2.9g) and negligible fat (0.7g). Fibre content is 1.3g. When you fry (in palm oil) the ripe plantain, calorie content increases to 292kcal. When it is roasted (Boli), ripe plantain contains about 204kcal while boiled gives 81kcal.
On the other hand, 100g of Unripe (green) plantain contains 202kcal of energy (46.52g of carbohydrates). When boiled, 100g of unripe plantain can give 141kcal.
Comparing the ripe and unripe plantain, the ripe plantain contains more sugar than unripe plantain hence the sweetness of the plantain. The unripe plantain, however, contains more starch than the ripe. The unripe is a preferred choice for diabetic patients and those who want to lose weight.
Plantain also contains an appreciable amount of Beta-carotene, vitamin B6, Vitamin C, Magnesium and Potassium. Unripe plantain contains more micronutrients than the ripe plantain.
How is Plantain Utilized?
Plantain is often cooked. It can be cooked at any stage of ripeness. In Nigeria, Ripe plantain is used to make Dodo (fried Plantain). This is a culture shared by many countries including Burkina Faso where it is also called Dodo. A special kind of Dodo in Nigeria is called Dodo Ikire, which is a delicacy common in the Ikire town of Osun State, Nigeria. Gizdodo, a stir-fry of Gizzard and fried plantain is another snack becoming popular in Nigeria. Plantain chips made from unripe plantains are also popular in and outside Africa.
Other foods made from plantain include Mosa, Moinmoin, Amala, Boli, Chips and Plantain Pie.
In Ghana, Plantain is used in making fufu, Ampesi, Kelewele and Red red.
Plantain is widely eaten all over the world. In south America and central America, there are delicacies made from Plantains such as Tostones, and Tostada. In India, Ethakka Appam, plantain fritters, is a delicacy.
It also makes a great component of complementary foods for infants.
Plantain is in season and it is cheap. This is the time to switch from the usual and enjoy more delicacies made from plantain. If you are looking to get rid of some weight, portion control of the ripe plantain is very important. Adding plantain more to your meals this season is a plus for your health.
Whatever way you decide to utilize plantain this season, don’t forget to eat better and live better.
Nigerian Food Composition Table 2017