Plantain- An Introduction

  1. Introduction


Plantain belongs to monocotyledonous family, Genus Musa and its botanical name is Musa paradiciaca. Plantain is a staple food grown throughout the tropical and subtropical region. It is ubiquitous in India so it is available throughout the year. It is major source of carbohydrate, vitamins and minerals.

Plantain is highly perishable. It possesses wide variety o f flavors. It can either be used for the domestic consumptions as well as it is used for making Plantain flour, Biscuits, cakes, Bread, Pan-cakes etc. It is a cheap source of iron, protein and Vitamin A.

Plantain has nutritional as well as medicinal values. It can be used for the treatment of diabetes, sore- throat, diarrhea, vomiting, apart from that it is major diet in the production of soyamusa which can be used in the treatment of kwashiorkor.

Plantain can be used as a substitute for wheat flour, cassava flour and all purpose flour, so that it is beneficial especially for diabetic patients. Plantain can be converted into flour and chips to improve its durability. It is also used to make infant foods like plantain porridge. According to FAO more than 2.5 million metric tons of plantains are produced in Nigeria annually.

Plantains are tougher and starchier than banana, also it has thicker, and harder skin compared to banana. Plantain and Banana are genetically similar but primarily we can eat plantain after cooking.

  1. Types of plantain

Plantain grows just like banana, in bunches called “hands”. The trees may vary in size from 12- 15 feet to 25- 30 feet tall with huge broad leaves. Plantain is called as Kaccha kela in India, Dodo in Western Nigeria and Sagging Saba in Philippines.

Plantain can be found in four varieties, based on their bunch:

  • French Plantain
  • French horn
  • False horn
  • Horn Plantain

Both types of plantain grow in India, Africa, Egypt and Tropical America, but French plantain also found in Indonesia and Islands of the Pacific.

  1. Health Benefits of Plantain

Plantain is very beneficial for our health. Plantain is good source of Vitamin A, C and B- 6 and the mineral, magnesium and potassium.

  • Antioxidant

Plantain is rich in Vitamin C which acts as an antioxidant. Antioxidant helps in boosting our immune system. Protects your body from free radical damage that associated with aging, heart disease, and even some types of cancer.

  • Potassium

Plantain contains high amount of potassium which is essential for maintaining cells, regulates body electrolytes and the body fluid that controls our heart rate and blood pressure.

  • Fiber

Plantain contains Fiber which helps in lowering our cholesterol level, achieves optimal digestion and keeps your heart functioning properly.

  • Vitamin B 6 content

Plantain contains good amount of Vitamin B 6 which helps to reduce cardio-vascular risk and improve mood.

Plantain is rich source of complex carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals, so are easily digestible.

It is good source of vitamin C, Vitamin B 6, Magnesium, Potassium. It is the best way to add fiber and carbohydrate in your diet.  

  1. Byproducts from Plantain

When the pulp of unripe plantain is sliced, dried and milled to make its product. Also, we can use plantain for making chips to improve its durability. Byproducts of plantain are:

  • Plantain flour: This plantain flour can be used to make Biscuits, cakes, Bread, Pan- Cakes as well as pudding.

  • Plantain Noodles and Pasta

Plantain can also be used to make plantain Pasta as well as Plantain noodles. Preparation of Plantain Pasta and Plantain noodles is almost similar. Generally green plantain is used to make pasta and noodles, because they have neutral taste then yellow ones. Yellow plantain is sweeter in taste.

For making noodles and pasta from plantain, firstly plantain is washed properly. After which it is boiled for 10 minutes. Post getting cooled, peels are removed from the plantain and send to the cutting section. It is then mashed and knead properly to make dough. This dough is then extruded to make noodles and pasta by using different dye.

  •  Plantain porridge

 Plantain contains good amount of essential nutrients to keep babies thieve and healthier. They contain ascorbic acid which is good for the eyesight of babies. Plantain also boosts the immune system of infants. Ripe plantain can easily be mashed up once cooked and then it can be fed alone or some other ingredients can be mixed to make plantain porridge.

  • Sanitary napkins

 Disposable sanitary napkins are made from Synthetic material and plastic, which takes many years to decompose. If we will burn this disposable napkin, then it emits very hazardous gas and carcinogenic fumes. This will cause air pollution and harm the environment. So, banana and papain are used to make natural sanitary napkins so that it can decompose easily. Banana fiber has excellent absorption properties and composite banana powder allows to make hygienic napkins.

Sparkle pads is an Indian brand of banana sanitary napkin, using locally sourced ingredients such as banana fiber, corn based bio- plastic etc.

  1. Reference


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