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What are different characteristics, uses and benefits of Plantain?

Plantains are generally called as herbaceous plants of genus Musa. The fruits produced by plantains are soft and sweet banana which is also used for cooking. Basically, there is no as such difference between the plantains and bananas; the use of the term is based on the way how these fruits are consumed. They are firmer and have lower sugar content than the desert bananas. Bananas are always eaten raw, while the plantains are cooked or processed, and are used green or unripe or overripe. They are staple food of the tropical regions of the world and used in the same way as potatoes like boiling, cooking and frying. Plantain crops are grown in almost all the regions like United States, Sri Lanka, Hawaii, Mexico, Columbia, central America, Peru, Puerto Rica, India, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Egypt, Ghana, Uganda, Nigeria.

Origin:-
Plantain are also called as cooking plantain, banana plantain, beer banana, bocadillo plantain but, formally classified as musa acuminate, musa balbisiana. Most of the plantains come from AAB cultivator and hybrid AAB groups. The genus musa members are all native to the regions of the Southeast Asia and oceania.

Uses of Plantain Food:-
– Steamed, boiled, grilled, fried or baked
In the countries like Honduras, Jamaica and Trinidad, Tobago, the plantains are simply boiled, fried or added to the soup. In Nigeria, the plant is eaten boiled, roasted and fried; the roasted plantain called as booli is usually eaten with groundnut or palm oil. In Ghana, the boiled plantain is eaten up with cabbage stew or kontomire stew. Ripe plantains are also eaten fried with black eyed beans. The dish called as Rellenitos de Plátano made from the plantains is also served as a dessert after the food.
– Rootstock
The root of plantain contains a lot of fiber and starch and is used as a food in many parts. It is also used for making dry curry and used as food in Ethiopia. The young shoots of the plant can also be cooked and eaten.
– Fruit
In the state of Kerala, the yellow fruits called Nendran are deep fried after dipping in a thin batter of gram flour which can be very difficult to remove.
– Drink
Plantain fruit can be mixed into alcoholic drink. They can also be boiled and blended with sugar and water to make chapo juice.
– Chips
Plantains can also be used to make banana chips after removing the skin and deep frying the sliced sections in hot oil. Chips are also named as bannan fris, chicharritas or mariquitas etc. Plantain chips are a popular treat in Ghana, Nigeria and Jamaica etc.

Other uses:-
– Plantain flowers
The flowers of the plantain are also used in variety of ways, for example, the young male flower at the end of bunch is used in salads. It can be used in vermicelli soups. Flower of the plant can also be used to make dry curry and thoran dish. The plantain flower can also be used to make sweet and sour gojju.
– Plantain leaves
The leaves of this plant can exceed two meters in length. The leaves of the plant when smoked in open fire help to improve the storage properties, flavor and aroma. They can also be used to wrap seasoned meat while cooking to keep the flavor. The plantain leaves are also used as plates while serving the food in South India. They also have religious importance in Hindu rituals. The leaves are also used as cooking foil for steaming idlis. It can also be used as a packaging material for packaging food and flowers.
– Plantain shoots
The plantain tree after harvesting is cut and peeled into layers to get cylinder shaped soft shoot, which can be used in salad or dry curry. It can also be used as a very good remedy to avoid constipation. Regular dosage of the juice of shoots can also help to procure kidney stones and stomach ulcers.

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