My favourite snacks: Plantain
Plantain is one of those items that can be forgotten about if it is not on the shopping list, or it is not eaten on a regular basis. They look like a banana both shape and colour, however when they are not ripe (and hard) they are coloured dark green. When it is ripe the colour suddenly turns to black. I love plantain when it is black, because when it is deep fried, it tastes really nice. I have never actually put them in the oven before, but I have heard it tastes just as good, also a better and healthier option than deep fried. The Plantains can be consumed as a green colour but when this is deep fried, it may still taste slightly hard, but I know some people like to consume this that way, and it is down to people's preferences.
I actually tend not to consume this often, I do not actually know the reason as I love plantain alot, and used to eat this in an abundance when I was young. I would have this with a range of Afro- Caribbean meals, including Curry goat with rice and peas, or Jollof rice with chicken and salad. For how small plantain is, it really does pack a punch when it comes to nutritional content. First of it contains fibre, which as we are aware of the importance of consuming foods high in fibre, which is great for bowel movement, and reducing heart related diseases. They contain magnesium and potassium, both are important minerals to consume. Magnesium has a range of benefits for the body including regulating the blood sugar levels in our body, reducing fatigue, supporting to improve the immune system, including lowering the risk of heart related diseases. Potassium helps to regulate the heartbeat, helps to improve the function of the muscles and nerves in the body, as well as processing protein and carbohydrates when we consume this, finally potassium helps to regulate the fluid intake, and makes us aware when we need to consume more fluids (for example when we become dehydrated, we are made aware that we need to drink more, potassium helps with the signals etc) Plantain contains vitamins A and K. Vitamin A helps to improve the body's immune system, and supports with reducing night blindness. Vitamin K plays the part around blood clotting, so when we hurt ourselves which forms a cut on the skin, the length of time it takes to form the wound and heal is with the support of Vitamin K, they also help to build and support bone health, including their processes. Finally plantain provides small amounts of Vitamin B and C, two great and important vitamins for the body. Vitamin C (also called ascorbic acid) helps to grow, develop and repair all body tissues, helps to absorb iron, and assists with making sure the immune system is in working order. Vitamin B helps to make sure that the nutrients are transported around the body in the proper way, and helps to make sure the brain is working properly, and finally they help to maintain a healthy metabolism.
It is amazing that a vegetable (a forgotten vegetable shall I say) can be packed with a range of nutritional benefits. They are inexpensive to purchase, and can be served with a range of meals. Like I wrote before, this can be served with a main meal, like Jollof rice or other rice based meals, or can be served as a breakfast. Communities from the Caribbean countries have plantain with dumplings, salt fish, and black eye beans, or have this with fried eggs. When I had this with curry goat with rice and peas, it brought back great memories of having plantain. I will definitely be having this more regularly as it is a great snack, plus has great nutritional benefits.