Every sane person has had a moment of insanity in the grocery store in which they purchase an excessive amount of an item. Fresh fruits like plantains can be stored in the pantry for a week or two, but how do you preserve them to eat at a later time? Is it possible to freeze plantains? Plantains, raw or cooked, that won’t be eaten right away can be frozen for later use. If you want to freeze plantains without sacrificing texture or flavor, peeling and slicing them first is a good idea. Plantains can be frozen for storage, but only if the process is carried out correctly. Read on to find out how to effectively store a large quantity of overripe plantains for later use.
What Are Plantains?
It’s incredibly simple to confuse a plantain for a banana because they seem so similar! They are members of the same plant family, yet they are used in quite different ways. Plantains are actually a sort of fruit, however they are commonly referred to as a vegetable. They lack the sweetness of bananas and have a starchy texture. Although they can be eaten fresh, they are usually prepared before consumption.
Plantains are widely used in a wide range of cuisines, especially in the Caribbean, Africa, Central and South America, and Southeast Asia. Plantains are unique in that they can be cooked and consumed before they are fully ripe. The unripe plantain fruit is hard, greeny-yellow, and starchy at this stage, and will hold up well to culinary methods such as boiling and frying.
As the plantain ripens, it becomes sweeter and turns a rich yellow, then black color. Ripe plantains are frequently roasted in their skins, similar to baked potatoes. In fact, plantains are more closely related to sweet potatoes than bananas! They are usually mashed, boiled, steamed, or grilled and can be cooked using the same methods.
Cooked plantains have a thick and starchy texture that absorbs other flavors and sauces nicely. Roast plantains with butter and freshly ground salt and pepper are a gastronomic delight that everyone should taste!
Can You Really Freeze Plantains?
With plantains, a little bit really does go a long way. Plantains can usually be purchased in bunches, which should be more than enough to last you for several weeks. Usually, this fruit is cooked and served as a side dish or as a component of the main course. Due to the high carbohydrate content, a serving of plantain can be relatively little because it is so immensely filling. Plantains ripen gradually at room temperature over the course of a week or two and store rather well. However, they will eventually become mushy and overripe.
Is it a good idea to freeze plantains to avoid this from happening?
The good news is that plantains can be frozen. You can always have frozen plantains available in your freezer by simply following a few easy steps. Depending on how ripe the plantains are and whether they have been cooked or not, there are several alternatives for the best way to freeze them.
In contrast to many fruits, plantains keep their taste and texture after being frozen. They should be kept away from air and moisture, though, as they are somewhat prone to freezer burn (like many fruits). In order to preserve these tasty and adaptable fruits in the best possible shape, let’s look at the best ways to freeze plantains.
Can You Freeze Unripe Plantains?
Green, unripe plantains can be frozen, but they must first be carefully prepared. If you prefer to eat these fruits before they become fully mature, freezing unripe plantains is an excellent choice. They will be retained in their natural state, with their rich starchy texture and delicious flavor. The issue with freezing unripe plantains is that they must first be peeled – these fruits are notoriously tough to peel before they are mature!
The key to peeling unripe plantains is to score the fruit’s skin downward multiple times around the outside of the fruit. The top and bottom of the fruit are then removed, and the peel is removed in parts from the outside of the fruit. You’ll be left with the raw fruit underneath, which may be cut and frozen much like ripe plantain.
Before transferring the fruit to an airtight bag or container, flash-freeze it in batches on a baking tray. This prevents the plantain pieces from adhering together, making it easier to take just the proper quantity from the freezer when you need it.
Can You Freeze Ripe Plantains?
If you want to keep ripe plantains for a longer period of time, freezing them is a fantastic choice. Since more of us are using the freezer to cut down on food waste, we always have access to a broader variety of ingredients.
To freeze sliced, ripe plantains, follow these steps:
Fruit should be peeled and then sliced into smaller pieces. This can be chips, rounds, pieces, half, or any other form that you typically prepare food in before cooking.
On a baking sheet covered with parchment paper, spread out the plantain pieces. Make sure they are laid out in a single layer and are not touching.
For around two hours, or once the fruit is completely frozen, place the tray in the freezer.
After removing as much air as you can, transfer the frozen plantain chunks to a ziplock freezer bag.
After writing the contents and the date on the bag, put it back in the freezer.
You can store your plantains whole for future roasting if you enjoy roasting whole plantains in the oven without peeling or slicing them first!
Follow these steps to freeze ripe plantains whole:
Simply remove the fruits from the bunch, spread them out on a baking sheet, and place them in the freezer until they are completely frozen.
After that, put them in a bag or other airtight container so you may use them the following time you want to serve a great roast plantain with dinner.
Can You Freeze Cooked Plantains?
One of the many benefits of plantains is the variety of cooking ways available; these fruits can be baked, mashed, grilled, fried, boiled, steamed, or roasted. Maduros are a favorite of ours! Fortunately, cooked plantains freeze extremely well regardless of cooking method! Depending on the cooking process, cooked plantains can be stored in the freezer for up to 12 months without losing flavor or texture.
Mashed plantain stores exceptionally well, and this is an excellent way to extend the shelf life of this beloved side dish. Fried plantain, whether split lengthwise or across, may also be easily frozen. Whatever method you used to cook your plantains, keep in mind that air and moisture will soon lead to freezer burn. This means that cooked plantains should be stored in an airtight bag or container to maintain their freshness.
How Long Can Plantains Stay Frozen?
Plantains do not have a lengthy shelf life when kept in the freezer because they are a fruit with a relatively high moisture content. Plantains are extremely prone to freezer burn and may gradually start to lose flavor in the freezer. When freezing any fruits or vegetables, freezer burn is a specific issue because it results in a rough, leathery feel. As a general rule, plantain slices can be kept in the freezer for longer if they are larger. Consequently, entire, unpeeled plantains can be frozen for up to 12 months, but little plantain cubes may start to lose their quality in just 3 months.
How To Defrost Frozen Plantains
The benefit of freezing plantains is that they can be cooked when frozen! Simply remove as much as you need from the freezer and prepare it as usual. However, this will increase the cooking time, so defrost the plantains first. Overnight in the refrigerator is the best way to defrost frozen plantains. If you diced your plantains before freezing them, you can take out just enough for your recipe and freeze the rest for another day.
Remove the plantain pieces from the freezer and place them in an airtight container to avoid absorbing other flavors and scents from the fridge. Refrigerate the container overnight, or until the fruit has thawed completely. Plantains can also be defrosted at room temperature or in a warm water bath if you are in a hurry. Never microwave frozen plantains because the high water content causes them to fry on the exterior before the middle is fully thawed.