Plantains are hard to beat when perfectly cooked. Fried plantains have a crispy outer layer and fleshy inner layer, making them an incredible side dish for meats or any other protein. Besides their unique flavor, plantains are an excellent food source for meeting your calorie needs. They are healthy, have a great nutrition profile, and come in their natural form, with no processing. This makes them a healthier alternative to processed flours and grains.
There are two types of plantains, green and yellow. And although the two come from the same plant, they are not the same. Here’s more information on green and yellow plantains, what they are, and their differences.
Green Plantains vs Yellow Plantains
Green plantains and yellow plantains are the same thing but in different stages. Green plantains are unripe, while yellow plantains are ripe. Both two can be eaten when cooked. However, they differ in terms of texture, taste, and nutrition.
About Green Plantains
Green plantains are plantains that have been newly harvested from the plant. Such plantains are usually unripe and have a green color. The peels of green plantains have a firm texture, making the peeling process difficult.
When cooked, green plantains have an almost similar taste to cooked potatoes. That’s so because these plantains are very starchy. Their nutritional profile is also close to that of cooked potatoes. The starch mainly comprises dietary fiber. Fiber is a crucial nutrient in ensuring good digestive health, promoting weight loss, supporting heart health, and preventing constipation.
Although green plantains are not as sweet as yellow plantains, they are highly nutritious and are packed with potassium and magnesium. Their firm texture makes them ideal for preparing plantain chips.
About Yellow Plantains
As green plantains ripen, their peel color change to yellow. Continous ripening can lead to over-ripening, causing the yellow plantains to change color to brown.
Yellow plantains have a sweeter taste when cooked. That’s due to their high sugar content. Green unripe plantains contain lots of starch. During the ripening process, the starch is converted to sugars. These sugars are what give yellow plantains their sweet taste.
The texture of yellow plantains is also soft, making it easy to peel them. Since yellow plantains have no starch and are high in sugars, they are softer. This makes them ideal for frying, baking, or boiling.
Like green plantains, yellow plantains are very nutritious and are a good source of vitamins, potassium, and magnesium.
What’s The Difference Between Green And Yellow Plantains
There are a couple of differences between green and yellow plantains. They include:
Taste is the most notable difference between the two. Yellow plantains contain lots of sugars, especially fructose. Fructose is the type of sugar present in ripe fruits and what makes them taste sweet. The high fructose content in yellow plantains makes them acquire a sweet taste.
On the other hand, green plantains don’t have simple sugars, making them not have a sweet taste. Instead, these plantains are high in starch. The starch causes green plantains to taste almost like cooked potatoes.
Fiber is an essential component of your health. It adds bulk to stool, preventing constipation. It also increases satiety, supports heart health, helps regulate blood sugar level, and assist in weight loss.
Green plantains have more fiber than yellow plantains. The fiber is due to the high starch content of green plantains. So, if you prefer food with low sugars, high fiber content, and a low glycemic index, then green plantains are your best shot.
Yellow plantains are high in fructose with very little starch. The low starch content of these plantains makes them a poor source of dietary fiber.
As mentioned, yellow plantains are sweeter and thus, have higher sugar content than green plantains. During the ripening process of green plantains, most of the starch is converted to sugar. This makes yellow plantains rich in sugars like fructose and glucose. And since green plantains don’t have lots of sugars but starch, they are not sweet.
For instance, a half cup of yellow-cooked plantains contains around 15 g of sugars. On the other hand, a half cup of cooked green plantains provides about 1.5 g of sugars.
Another notable difference between green and yellow plantains is in their texture. Green plantains have a firmer texture than yellow plantains. That’s due to the high starch content in these plantains.
As the green plantains become ripe, the starch content reduces. This gives the plantains a softer texture. Thus, yellow plantains are easier to slice than green plantains, thanks to the softer texture of their peels.
Green plantain’s firm texture also makes them ideal for preparing plantain chips.
Unlike yellow plantains, green plantains have more starch. The starch is made up of primarily resistant starch. Resistant starch is also called dietary fiber and offers various health benefits like boosting digestive health, etc.
The more the plantains ripen and acquire a yellow color, the more the starch converts to sugars. Therefore, yellow plantains have more natural sugars and less resistant starch.
The amount of calories plantains contains depends on the cooking methods. Cooking methods that involve adding ingredients with a significant amount of calories increase the plantains’ overal calories. Similarly, cooking methods that don’t require adding ingredients with substantial calories don’t impact overall plantain calories.
For instance, boiling, which means cooking food in water with zero calories, wouldn’t affect the food’s calories. The same is valid with roasting or grilling. However, frying plantains, which involves cooking with oil, which has significant amounts of calories, greatly increases the food’s calorie content.
Therefore, take note of the cooking methods when determining calories.
When boiled, yellow plantains provide more calories than green plantains. That’s so because of the high sugar content. Green plantains are low in sugars and high in resistant starch (fiber), which has negligible amounts of calories.
Green plantains are unripe plantains freshly harvested from the plant. They have a firm texture, are high in starch and fiber, less sweet, and provide fewer calories.
Yellow plantains are green plantains that have ripened. They have a softer texture, are high in sugars, are sweet to taste, and provide more calories.