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Eating uncooked plantain

I have a ripe, yellow plantain. Can I eat this like I could a banana? Everything I have read online indicates that plantains must be cooked before consumption.

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  1. Plantains are ripe when they are black. That one may still be hard. One clue - an unripe one is hard to peel. Peeling a ripe is easier, though rarely as easy a regular banana.

    I've never heard of it being harmful to eat it raw, but then eating potatoes raw isn't harmful either. Whether you'd want to is another question.


    3 Replies
    1. re: paulj

      I was going to say the same thing as paulj - I think eating an uncooked plantain would be akin to eating a raw potato. It probably won't hurt you, but I don't think it will be pleasant. Or sweet like a banana - plantains are quite different starch- and sugar-content wise than bananas.

      1. re: jnstarla

        They are often served as part of the Vietnamese Table Salad, to be rolled up with assorted herbs, lettuce, cuc's, fine rice noodles and protein.
        They are not unpleasant at all (and I am talking about yellow ones not the black or green ones).
        They are not crunchy and have a slight tartness to them.
        The really black ones can get quite soft and sweet with out cooking as well.

      2. re: paulj

        The green part of a raw potatoe is harmful, so if you get a potatoe with some green cut off the green and discard it.

      3. Maybe it's too much hassle to heat up a pan of oil to fry just one, so I was thinking if it's a ripe one, try cooking it with a George Foreman Grill or Pannini press, or even a waffle iron (non-stick).

        1 Reply
        1. re: HSBSteveM

          Or if you're impatient, pop it in the microwave..similar to a baked potato.

        2. I wouldn't try it. Yukky. Like an unripe persimmon.

          Yes, I've microwaved them with success, although pan fried is much better.

          1. as has been said, if it's yellow, it's not ripe.

            Once it is ripe, make a slit down one side. Coat it with olive oil, and then put it in the over at 350 for about 30 minutes (or until nice and done). Serve it with sour cream -- quite tasty.

            2 Replies
            1. re: karmalaw

              Unripe plantains can be used, but they are starchier, and need more cooking. One approach is to try slices, smash them, and fry them again. Another is to cook it in soup, much as you would potatoes.


              1. re: paulj

                There is a great Cuban stew called Quimbombo which has pork, green plantains, and okra.. yum!

            2. I've eaten a very ripe plantain sliced over a pancake like a banana. It was starchy but tasty. I suffered no ill effects.

              1. note: yellow is not ripe. I suggest you try a bite and see if you would like more. It isn't all that pleasant. Whether one "must" cook it, I guess not, but if you eat a whole one your digestive tract might well complain later... that's a major fiber dose.

                1. Trust me you DO NOT want to eat an uncooked plantain!!! I made the mistake of eating one that was not fully ripe (it had just turned yellow, it wasnt black yet) and I ended up with the worst stomach ache of my life. It felt like I had a rock in my stomach that would not digest and it lasted for 24 hours. I also remember describing it as if I had eaten a large raw potato and swallowed it whole. It took my body some serious overtime and unpleasantness to get it digested. Cook it.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Zangin

                    Never eat a yellow plantain. I had a friend who mistook it for a regular banana and he ended up with a wicked tummy ache. He hasn't touched either since.

                    1. re: Zangin

                      i eat raw green plantains and have never had any reactions skin or tummy wise.

                    2. I dropped a very ripe uncooked plantain into my blender with some cut cantaloupe and honeydew to make a smoothie. The plantain gave it an intense sweetness and creaminess.

                      1. I don't care to eat plantain uncooked, ripe or not. However, while not common, it is possible for them to be sweet and ripe while still yellow. As someone upstream mentioned, peelability is a better indicator of ripeness than color.

                        1. The plantain is ripe when it is black--entirely, completely, 100% black. At this point, it should be easy to peel and have a sweet-starchy taste. Plantains can be eaten uncooked at this stage with absolutely no problems! Enjoy.

                          The cooking process simply caramelizes the starches to make the plantain edible, whereas the ripening process converts many of the starches to sugars, making the plantain safe and easier/tastier to eat in a ripe state.

                          10 Replies
                          1. re: Nattomi

                            Plantain is safe to eat in any stage of its ripeness. Even dead green it is not toxic.

                            1. re: chefj

                              Not toxic as in deadly or likely to cause immediate reactions, no. Neither are raw potatoes, but it's not advised to eat too many of them raw. Plantains are similar in this regard, that a few unripe are absolutely fine--it just doesn't taste that delicious. I use edible in regards to taste, as well.

                              1. re: Nattomi

                                Your post sounded like you were saying that they must be cooked to be edible and just as with potatoes that is not the case. There is nothing in them to make you feel sick, or hurt you.

                                1. re: chefj

                                  Thank you for the correction--I probably was unconsciously thinking it might not be safe just due to cultural preferences. Didn't mean for it to come off so incorrectly.

                                  1. re: Nattomi

                                    No problem, I know many cultures would never eat a plantain raw.
                                    I prefer it fried when it is yellow except in Vietnamese Bánh hỏi dishes where thin slices are added to the table salad.

                                  2. re: Nattomi

                                    I have never had plantain raw or cooked, but I eat raw potatoes about 1 or 2 x a month all the time. I have for 40 years.

                                    1. re: Nattomi

                                      It's all a matter of preference. I actually really like the taste of raw plantain far better than cooked. Raw is my choice and have never had any issues.!

                                      1. re: Nattomi

                                        I eat plantain raw and not ripe, never had any issue with eating them like that.

                                  3. I just ate a raw plantain. It was yellow with some blackened areas,to me it taste similar to a banana with a sweet taste. I liked it better then the first one i ate about a week ago that was green that i sliced up and streamed for 15 minutes. It had no taste and still was a little hard. It did not get me sick in any way..I will post again if the raw one i ate makes me sick;unless it kills me then no post will follow. :)

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: wayjo921

                                      Uh oh.....

                                      Looking for plantain recipes I can talk about weeks later.

                                      1. re: Shrinkrap

                                        plantains are not really all that "weeks later" worthy.

                                        Don't get me wrong - they're delicious, but they're just not gourmet fare.

                                        They're a starch served alongside pretty basic dishes from the countries in and around the Caribbean.

                                        Cook them simply before they're ripe (tostones) or saute til golden once they're ripe, and just enjoy.

                                        1. re: sunshine842

                                          I am looking at what I wrote, and I have NO idea what I was thinking! (It would have been around 2 AM here. Maybe I was "sleep writing". ) I think I was joking about the fact that the person wrote he will come back and post if the raw plantain didn't kill him. He didn't come back, so....

                                          I wanted to come back.

                                          FWIW, my family and my husbands family are of West Indian descent, so I grew up eating them fried.He likes them green; I prefer them a little riper. I also remember a friend who made "fu fu", and various pounded knobby things (cassava, "yam") used similarly. But since then I have discovered mofongo, and some Dominican dishes that are more savory, and really appeal to me. I saw several in the cook book of the month of a few months ago.

                                          1. re: Shrinkrap

                                            Ah, we've all posted without coffee.... :)