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Eating uncooked plantain

bmorecupcake Mar 13, 2008 01:37 PM

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.

  1. paulj Mar 13, 2008 01:57 PM

    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.


    2 Replies
    1. re: paulj
      jnstarla Mar 13, 2008 06:03 PM

      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
        chefj Oct 5, 2011 05:51 PM

        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. HSBSteveM Mar 13, 2008 06:17 PM

      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
        LTL Mar 13, 2008 08:07 PM

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

      2. m
        mlgb Mar 14, 2008 08:56 AM

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

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

        1. karmalaw Mar 14, 2008 09:00 AM

          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
            paulj Mar 14, 2008 09:06 AM

            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
              karmalaw Mar 14, 2008 09:52 AM

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

          2. s
            Super Salad Mar 14, 2008 05:28 PM

            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. j
              JRCann Apr 20, 2008 08:38 AM

              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. z
                Zangin Oct 5, 2011 01:22 AM

                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
                  peasantpalate Oct 5, 2011 07:46 AM

                  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
                    chrismata_ May 9, 2013 04:57 PM

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

                  2. scubadoo97 Oct 5, 2011 12:29 PM

                    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. inaplasticcup Oct 5, 2011 08:00 PM

                      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. n
                        Nattomi Feb 5, 2012 03:50 PM

                        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.

                        9 Replies
                        1. re: Nattomi
                          chefj Feb 5, 2012 05:17 PM

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

                          1. re: chefj
                            Nattomi Feb 5, 2012 05:30 PM

                            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
                              chefj Feb 5, 2012 05:44 PM

                              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
                                Nattomi Feb 5, 2012 06:02 PM

                                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
                                  chefj Feb 6, 2012 05:47 PM

                                  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: chefj
                                  chrismata_ May 9, 2013 05:02 PM


                                  1. re: chrismata_
                                    PotatoHouse May 9, 2013 05:07 PM


                                3. re: Nattomi
                                  kelly77todd Jul 16, 2012 12:40 AM

                                  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
                                    chrismata_ May 9, 2013 04:59 PM

                                    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.!

                              2. w
                                wayjo921 Oct 3, 2012 08:23 AM

                                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. :)

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