The main difference between banana and plantain is that the plantains are usually larger and harder than bananas, with a much thicker outer layer of skin. In addition, bananas are usually sweeter, while plantains are thick and starchy.
Although some of us use the two words banana and plantain interchangeably, there is a significant difference when it comes to their flavor and usage in cuisine. In many African and Caribbean societies, plantains are a staple ingredient in cuisine and they treat them more as a vegetable than a fruit, and serve them roasted, fried, or baked into delicious savory side dishes.
Key Areas Covered
1. What is a Banana
– Definition, Features, Uses
2. What is a Plantain
– Definition, Features, Uses
3. Similarities Between Banana and Plantain
– Outline of Common Characteristics
4. Differences Between Bananas and Plantains
– Comparison of Key Differences
Bananas, Plantains, Cuisine
What is a Banana
Banana is a consumable fruit produced by herbaceous plants in the genus Musa. Bananas usually have a long, slender shape with a thick peel. Bananas are native to Southeast Asia, but Europeans’ and North Americans’ use them frequently in their cuisines.
Though there are different varieties of bananas, in Europe, the term “banana” usually refers to the sweet, yellow variety. However, the outer layer of an unripe banana is green and hard to peel. As it ripens, the skin changes to yellow, and it also becomes relatively easier to peel. We can eat the bananas both raw or cooked, and the consumable flesh of the fruit becomes sugary and softer as it ripens.
What is a Plantain
Plantains are a type of banana with a very distinct flavor profile and culinary usage than sweet and sugary yellow bananas. Plantains are usually larger and harder than bananas, with a much thicker outer layer of skin. They may be green, yellow, or very dark brown in color.
Though plantains are native to Southeast Asia, at present, people all over the world, especially people in tropical countries, grow them. Compared to yellow bananas, plantains are starchier, tougher, and less sugary. Unlike ripe bananas, which are usually slippery, mature plantains are dry when ripe. They taste better cooked than in raw form.
Similarities Between Banana and Plantain
- Both come from plants belonging to the genus Musa, a family of tropical herbs native to Southeast Asia and the South Pacific.
- They contain similar nutrients. E.g.: potassium, magnesium, vitamin C, minerals, and fiber.
- They discharge excessive sodium ions and lower blood pressure.
- Both are similar in shape and structure.
Difference Between Banana and Plantain
Banana is a long, curved fruit with yellow skin and soft, sweet, white flesh inside, whereas plantain is a type of banana that we can consume as a vegetable.
Plantains are larger, thicker, and tougher than bananas.
Plantains are thick and starchy; therefore, they need to be cooked before they’re consumed. Compared to plantains, bananas are usually soft and sweet and can be eaten raw.
Bananas are commonly found in bakery items and desserts and comparatively raw dishes like smoothies or fruit salads due to their natural sweetness. Plantains, on the other hand, are more similar to vegetables, and boiled, baked or fried plantains are served as a side dish to the staple meals in many cultures all around the world.
Type of Cuisine
Banana is a popular ingredient used in North American cuisine, while plantains are frequently used in Latin American, African, and Caribbean cuisines.
The main difference between banana and plantain is their plantains are usually larger and harder than bananas. In addition, bananas are usually sweeter, while plantains are thick and starchy. Bananas are higher in sugar and are slightly low in calories and carbs than plantains.
Bayne, G.K. “What Country Consumes the Most Bananas?” Synonym, 25 May 2021.