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You may be asking "Isn't plantain the same thing as banana?" No! While plantains are a major group of banana varieties, they have more starch than the bananas we know and they are not eaten raw. You can find green (less ripe) or yellow (sweeter and more ripe) in the produce section of the grocery store, typically near the bananas.
Plantains are believed to have originated in Southeast Asia, brought to Africa and then the Americas by colonizers. Two groups of plantains are believed to have a common origin: the horn plantain and the French plantain. Both types grow in India, Africa, Egypt, and tropical America. The French plantains also are found in Indonesia and the islands of the Pacific. Globally, plantains account for about 85% of all banana cultivation worldwide.
Pro tip: It's important to pay attention to the ripeness of the plantain when preparing it. Green plantains are hard and extra starchy while yellow plantains are soft and have dark spots. You can't switch between the two in recipes. You can store the plantain at room temperature. When it starts to turn black, store it in the refrigerator to extend the shelf life.
Plantain can be prepared in so many ways! You can cook them by:
You can eat cooked plantains as a snack or they can be incorporated into a meal (in a soup or stew, as a side dish, or with scrambled eggs).
Let's bring this into your little one. You can introduce plantain as soon as your Baby is ready to start solids at six months old. Be sure to check with your pediatrician before introducing foods to your Baby. We will show you how to prepare plantain for a variety of ages, but we will start with baking plantains and end with frying, since fried foods should not be a part of your child's every day diet.
While plantains have plenty of carbohydrates, they also have important nutrients to help babies develop. Plantains are packed with B vitamins, including B6 and folate, to help babies turn food into energy and grow their cells and tissues. They also contain some vitamin A to strengthen babies’ eyesight, skin, and immune system, and vitamin C to help babies absorb iron and develop a strong immune system. Plus, they are a rich source of fiber that can promote a healthy digestive system by cultivating friendly bacteria in a baby’s gut.
Now let's dive into how to prepare plantain for different stages: purées, Baby Led Weaning and for toddlers and big kids.