Has your newfound interest in Spanish cuisine led you to discover the joys of plantains? If so, do you know how to store them properly? If not, I may be able to help. I first became familiar with plantains in the early 2000s when I started experimenting with Spanish foods. With that said, here’s a quick look at some of what I learned over the years:
Decide on Usage
One of the first things that I learned about plantains is that you can control the ripening process by using assorted storage techniques. This is important because certain recipes require the plantains to be at particular level of ripeness. Therefore, you should base your storage methods on what dishes you plan on creating. For example, green plantains are used to create tostones and tend to be very firm. Once the plantains start to ripen, they turn yellow, soften slightly and develop a mild sweetness. As such, they are often grilled, basted with brown sugar and served as a side dish or a dessert. When the plantains reach the final stage of ripeness, they turn black and ultra sweet. At that point, they are eaten plain or used in baked dishes like plantain tarts and sweet plantain bread.
I also learned that temperature, humidity and ethylene gas are the three main things that have an effect on how fast or slow a plantain ripens. If you want to slow down the ripening process, I would recommend that you store the plantains in an area of your home that has good ventilation, 95 percent humidity and an air temperature in between 50 to 54 degrees Fahrenheit. Just don’t let the air temperature drop below 45 degrees Fahrenheit. Otherwise, the plantains’ peels may start to discolor and rot.
On the other hand, if you want to speed up the ripening process, I would recommend storing the plantains inside a sealed container at room temperature. That way, the ethylene gas naturally produced by the plantains won’t be able to escape. Thus, the plantains are apt to ripen quicker.
Keep them Separated
Lastly, I have found that it is best to separate the plantains and store them in single layers. Doing so helps to keep the peels from becoming bruised, which is crucial. Otherwise, the blemishes are likely to cause the plantains to ripen unevenly or rot in those areas. In my experience, one of the best ways to reduce incidents of bruising is to place the plantains, single file, inside a shallow pan. I like to use a shallow pan because it allows for more air circulation than a deep pan. Afterward, I’ll either place the pan into the refrigerator or leave it at room temperature depending on my culinary needs.
Source: Personal Experience
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