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Jan 13, 2011 08:13 AM

How to Ripen Plantains

I just bought 10 plantains. They're pretty green, with some scattered black streaks, and are very hard.

I'd like to pan-fry them in some butter and make maduros (to me, a fairly sweet, soft, fried plantain) in about a week (for like 30 people, not for just myself), but I'm not sure how possible that is. 2 or 3 weeks would be okay. Right now I'm just trying to get them to ripen properly, and ideally they'd ripen together. My problem here is that there seems to be a lot of conflicting advice on how to do this: ripen in open air/ripen in a bag. Ripen in sunlight/ripen in darkness. Ripen together/ripen apart. Ripen in warmth/ripen in cool.

My dorm room has a desk, and the whole room is maybe 70 degrees or so, and I was thinking of putting them down there in separate plastic bags and rotating each one daily. But I'm not sure how effective that would be.

Thank you!

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  1. It'd put 'em in a paper bag, preferably with some ethlylene-emitting thing like a ripe banana (you can google for a more extensive list)

    2 Replies
    1. re: jvanderh

      I see the paper bag thing a lot, especially for bananas. Is there any real reason for paper as opposed to plastic? I have no paper bags, but many plastic bags. I do have some apples (which AFAIK are great ethylene-emitters). They have, however, been in the fridge for a while - not sure if that affects things.

      Any other answers for the air/bag, light/dark, together/apart conundra?

      1. re: zooxanthellae

        I think plastic bag is fine, just keep an eye to make sure they don't rot in the spots where they touch the plastic. I'd vote for together, for maximum ethylene. I'd throw the apples in too. It can't hurt.

    2. A week is a long time in the life of a banana. Whether or not you can hasten their ripening, I think slightly under-ripe plantains make the best platanos maduros.

      1. Right now they're spread out on a paper towel on my desk, with another paper towel on top, since I was a little wary of them rotting in plastic and I'm hoping this method will allow me to get all of them fairly ripe at once.