Dole is bringing plantains – the savoury/sweet cousin of bananas – to New Zealand: with this versatile and delicious new addition to the fresh supermarket aisle set to become a go-to ingredient for Kiwi cooks.
Indigenous to the tropical regions of Southeast Asia, plantains are a staple in West and Central Africa, the Caribbean, Central America, South America, and many tropical regions of the world. They come in three stages of ripeness and can be used at every stage – starting off green before turning yellow and then finally black, becoming softer and sweeter as they ripen. In their first stage they are firm and can be used as a potato substitute – perfect for boiling, steaming, or mashing or prepared in sauces and soups. Yellow plantains are usually baked, fried, or roasted as snacks; and spotted or black plantains are used for delicious desserts, sweet recipes, and smoothies.
For ideal ripening, plantains should be stored at room temperature, or at higher temperatures to speed the ripening process. No matter the stage of ripeness, there is always something you can do with them. Plantains are the starchy cousin of bananas; are a rich source of fibre, and are filled with Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, potassium, and magnesium, supporting a healthy immune system, metabolism, and healthy blood pressure.
Dole New Zealand General Manager Steve Barton says, “We are really excited to bring an entirely new fruit to Kiwis, giving them the opportunity to try something new that’s healthy, adaptable, and great-tasting.”
Kiwis can look forward to a range of new recipe ideas using plantains, such as patacones; a crispy savoury golden snack from the Caribbean. These snacks are like twice fried sunshine, best served with chimichurri sauce. Or, try a classic and easy recipe – skillet fried plantains. This simply delicious, caramelised dessert is faultless when served with honey, a sprinkle of cinnamon, and icecream.