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Jul 12, 2008 11:36 AM

Not a banana?

2 weeks ago at Costco I grabbed bananas. These guys eat them like jelly beans, so I got 2 of the 4 lb. bundles of wrapped and very green hands bananas. At 4lbs for $1.69 I almost felt guilty! Anyway- unwrapped one package and they yellowed up in about 3 days. The yellow guys are long gone and I've bought more bananas at least 2 more times waiting for these others. It's become a joke- are they yellow yet? No! Here it is 2 weeks later and the other one is still just as green. I put them in a brown paper bag and left them on my counter- NADA. Still green. It's gotten dark and hard at the top where they are all joined, but zero mold. I suspect these are not what I thought. I think I am the proud owner of plantains, which I love but have never done from their raw state.

Q. If not plantains, what the heck went wrong with these bananas?
Q. For $1.69 why can't I just throw them out like a sane person would?
Q. How can I tell? They smell like the earth- nothing remotely helpful there.

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  1. I haven't made plantains from scratch, either, but you might as well ask for a recipe on the home cooking thread and give them a try. The little south american restaurant near me serves them sauteed in butter and seasoned with salt & pepper, with crema fresca and some refried beans, with a lime wedge to squeeze over it all.

    1. they could be plantains or some other type of African or Afro-Caribbean banana that is eaten as a starch rather than a fruit.

      1. Plantains are usually bigger than sweet bananas. The two that I just bought today are about 9" long, and that's a little on small side.

        1. You got a batch of bananas that suffered from freezer burn. They'll never ripen.

          I would freeze and thaw and use for baking.

          2 Replies
          1. re: ipsedixit

            Ya think? I did crack one off the bunch. It didn't want to peel, and it's quite milky/starchy once cut it open. The flesh sort of felt powdery but wet. I google imaged pics of plantains vs. bananas- that was interesting but not helpful.

            1. re: Boccone Dolce

              Plantains are very obvious - they are also sold as, "macho," and the more colloquial name is with good reason. Think of what macho would imply with this shape of fruit. They're huge and they typically have more pronounced ridges than the comparatively subtle banana that one gets at the market. And like bananas, plantains will ripen where the skin turns yellow, but usually appears much more blackened and burnished as well.

              I think Ipse nailed it - I'm guessing someone along the way between Central America and your Costco might have been a little too game in cooling off your load of bananas - maybe because of heat or ripening issues during transit or storage.

              I wouldn't be surprised if a whole gangload of angry and puzzled Costco members were standing in the "Returns" line over the past couple of weeks, all holding bunches of green bananas. You might do the same - Costco is usually pretty casual about returns, especially ones of this nature.

          2. I like to make ice cream topping with either plantains or green bananas. Slice and cook in a skillet with a couple pats of butter, orange juice (about 1/2 cup per banana), and a bit of sugar until the fruit is soft. The butter will make the sauce firm up when it hits the cold ice cream instead of just puddling in the bottom of the bowl.