Plantain: what kind of fruit is it and why is it useful?
Plantain is not a separate crop, but just one of the varieties of bananas. It is the general name of all cultivated varieties of vegetable banana, which is used for making side dishes and snacks. It is an unsweetened fruit that many people are accustomed to eating raw. Plantain is a starchy fruit that is fried, boiled and used in cooking like potatoes in our latitudes.
What is this fruit?
Plantain is the fruit of an herbaceous plant of the Banana or Musa genus. There are many species, both wild and cultivated. The fruit looks like an ordinary banana, just a little larger. The fruit grows on low palms in large clusters. The weight of a single branch can be 20-25 kg. The average weight of a plantain ranges from 200-250 grams to 500 grams.
Plantain is very popular in Asia, Australia and Africa, this fruit is a staple in the cuisine of these regions. There it is fried, boiled, made into snacks and all kinds of side dishes. The fruit is even used in the preparation of first courses. It has a neutral, slightly tart, starchy flavor and a fresh vegetable aroma. In the preparation of the most often used heat treatment, so the flesh becomes soft and the taste is delicate.
What it looks like
All varieties of plantains, as a rule, differ from traditional bananas, the size of the fruit. They are larger, fleshier, and contain times less glucose and other sugars. The plantain grows on a palm tree and forms a tiered bunch of fruit on a branch.
The fruit is crescent-shaped like a banana, but its skin is slightly thicker. The color of the plantain's skin is greenish gray. Inside the flesh is the same as that of ordinary bananas, white or yellow-white, with small, up to 1 mm dark pips. Today, the most culturally grown varieties are hybrid, fast-ripening varieties. Plantain species with larger, woodier stones are also found in the wild, but they are rarely consumed.
Where it grows
Today you can buy plantain fruit almost anywhere in the world. This fruit quite successfully withstands transportation and with proper storage does not spoil. But it is not grown everywhere, for this plant needs special climatic conditions.
Most of the plantains that are on sale today are not grown in the wild, but on special plantations. According to the UN, this fruit is the 12th most harvested. It is very much in demand in many countries and is also a staple food in some regions.
In its wild form, this plant can be found in regions with subtropical climates and in the tropics. The countries where plantain grows naturally are Australia, New Guinea, Malaysia, Indonesia, India, Indochina and other regions of Africa and Asia.
In countries where there are all the conditions for plantain cultivation, plantations are also artificially planted. For example, in Latin America there are huge areas where plantain grows, and in India they also grow this product for export.
How plantain is useful
Plantain is a fairly nutritious, carbohydrate-rich product that can be used as a base for appetizers as well as used to prepare a complete side dish. But not only the nutritional value of the product is important, this tropical fruit is also beneficial to health, as its composition contains many healing substances. Here are the main components of the product, which are responsible for its effect on the body:
- Magnesium - is necessary for the health of the cardiovascular system and muscles, for the full functioning of the brain and the nervous system in general.
- Sodium and potassium are substances that maintain water-salt balance, normalize Ph, and take part in metabolic processes.
- Fruits contain B vitamins, which are responsible for hematopoiesis processes, participate in the formation of immunity, normalize reproductive function and produce many additional effects.
- Zinc and sulfur are contained in small amounts, but they are also important substances that have a positive effect on the condition of the skin, hair and nails.
- Vitamins K, A, E are present in significant concentration, which are necessary for blood vessels, skin, hair, immunity and healthy functioning of internal organs.
- The fruit contains antioxidants that slow the aging process and prevent the development of cancer.
- Plantains are rich in fiber, and it provides a balance of microflora and intestinal health and normalizes the work of the digestive system.
In addition, plantains contain carbohydrates in large quantities, which means that dishes made of this product satiate energy and give a prolonged feeling of satiety. Thanks to the regular consumption of this product can improve the health of the cardiovascular and nervous system, normalize the processes of hematopoiesis, improve immunity. The caloric value of plantain is 87 kcal per 100 grams, while the pulp contains a small amount of proteins and fats, which are well assimilated by the human body.
What harm can it do
Despite the fact that plantain contains a huge amount of valuable substances and high nutritional potential, this product can cause harm to health. You should not abuse it. In what cases can be dangerous plantain - all contraindications are listed below.
- If a person is diagnosed with colitis or gastric and intestinal ulcers, it is better to refuse to eat foods rich in dietary fiber - pain, cramps, exacerbation or even bleeding can occur.
- You should not eat plantain if you have exacerbated chronic gastritis, pancreatitis or cholecystitis. In such cases, it is necessary to follow a strict diet.
- Plantain is strictly forbidden to those who previously had allergic reactions to bananas. These are fruits of the same genus of plants, and they may contain the same allergens. It is better not to take the risk, since the degree of intensity of the allergy cannot be foreseen, even anaphylactic shock can develop, and this is a critical condition requiring immediate hospitalization.
- It is not advisable to consume plantain if you have been diagnosed with diabetes. This product contains a lot of carbohydrates and can harm your health, raising your sugar levels to critical levels.
In some cases, due to the abuse of this tropical product, increased gas formation may occur. Also sometimes there is heaviness in the abdomen, these are all symptoms of indigestion. It is important to gradually introduce any new product into your diet and watch your body's reaction carefully.
For those who want to try for the first time plantain cooked by heat treatment, do not immediately pile on the product. The body with a lack of habit may not assimilate the dish completely, as a result, there will be problems with digestion.
How to eat plantain correctly
Plantain can be eaten raw, so it retains more nutrients, vitamins and dietary fiber. To taste the product, you just need to peel it like a normal banana. You can also cook this fruit and make different dishes from it - desserts, snacks, purees, soups and other culinary masterpieces. Sycamore is excellent with meat, vegetables, savory and sweet and spicy sauces, and can be boiled, stewed, roasted, and baked in the oven.
What you can make with plantain
Plantain is a versatile product, like everyone's favorite potato, suitable for a wide variety of dishes. Here are a few of the most popular ways to prepare it.
- Plantain is often deep-fried, with salt and spices added beforehand. The most popular recipe in batter, the banana turns out juicy and flavorful, in Asia it is cooked in starch.
- This exotic fruit is used to make soups, combining with other vegetables. You can make a regular broth stew or grind the boiled product in a blender and get a creamy dish.
- In Asian cuisine, vegetable mixes with plantain are very popular. There they add beans, beans, hot peppers, corn, chickpeas to it.
- Plantain is used to make mousses, purees, savory and sweet snacks.
- The fruit is also used in baking and creating desserts.
In some countries, plantain is used in salads, raw. It is also consumed as part of drinks and cocktails. Alcohol is also made from this exotic fruit.
Folk Medicine Applications
In non-conventional medicine, plantain is used to treat boils, joint diseases. It is also used to improve immunity, insomnia and muscle tension.
Sycamore rind is used to make a dry mixture for infusions. They are brewed and taken with a cough. It is also useful to use raw plantain pulp to restore bowel function, with constipation. Mashed potatoes from this product is useful for stomach upsets, but salt should not be added.
Also plantain helps to recover from bleeding, surgery, but sometimes there are limitations. Therefore, it is worth consulting with your doctor beforehand and discuss the possibility of using this product.
Its cosmetic uses
In cosmetology, plantain is not used too much, only the dessert varieties, because they contain more nutrients for the skin. Still, some cosmetic companies use plantain extracts to create skin care products.
This product is rich in antioxidants, zinc, and sulfur, making it good for the skin. Masks can be made from the pulp. The fruit smoothes wrinkles, eliminates inflammation, improves skin color and tone. You can combine the plantain pulp with honey, olive oil and other exotic fruits. The main thing is to initially make sure that there are no allergies - to do this, you need to put a small amount of cosmetic mixture on your wrist and see how the body reacts.
How to grow plantains
Plantains grow best in hot and humid climates. For the plant to survive, it will need abundant and regular watering. It is also important that it be warm, the optimal temperature is 26-27 degrees. This plant needs plenty of sunlight. If the sycamore plant does not get enough UV light, it will never grow, especially important at the initial stage.
Before planting it is necessary to prepare the soil, it should be fertile, saturated with organic fertilizers, breathable and well-drained. For good growth, the acidity of the soil is also important, the best option is from 5.5 to 7.0.
Young plants are afraid of wind and drafts, it is necessary to arrange a barrier or shelter. Also the danger is a sharp change in temperature - you need to maintain a stable microclimate.
Many cultural varieties propagate only vegetatively, it is extremely difficult to grow them from seeds. Therefore, it is better to use tubers or shoots (buds that grow at the base). They should be planted after rooting in water, this usually takes up to 2 weeks.
Frequent weeding is required, you need to make sure that the soil is perfectly clean, plantain does not tolerate the neighborhood with weeds. This plant needs to be fertilized 4-5 times a year. At the initial stage of growth, during the formation of the stem and leaves, nitrogen fertilizers are important. Once a year it is necessarily important to enrich the soil with organic fertilizers, and another 1 time per season is recommended comprehensive fertilizing.
Plantain is a useful and tasty product. It can be an excellent addition to the diet. To choose a quality fruit, you need to pay attention to the condition of the skin, it should be without damage and spots. It is also important that the fruit was sufficiently elastic, not soft, as such plantains have the most useful substances.
The product should be stored in the refrigerator, in the section for greens and fruits. You can cook it any way you like. Approximate daily amount of this product in the diet - 200-300 grams, this is a full portion. If you consume plantain properly, it will only benefit the body.
«Important: All information on this site is provided for informational purposes only purposes. Consult with your health care professional before applying any recommendations. professional before using them. Neither the editors nor the authors shall be liable for any possible harm caused by materials."