Plantains are fruits that look very similar to bananas. However, they are generally used in many different ways in both sweet and savory dishes.
The only problem with ripe plantains is that, like bananas, they can quickly go brown and get mushy. This means that they are past their usefulness. However, there are ways that you can preserve them. This includes freezing them or even dehydrating them if you have a food dehydrator that you can use.
Additionally, plantains can be stored in the refrigerator when they’re ripe for around a week as they will not ripen any further. The cold of the refrigerator will halt the ripening process.
How to Freeze Ripe Plantains
Here’s a step-by-step guide to freezing plantains so you can store them for up to 12 months.
Step 1 – Peel and cut up your plantains
Once the plantains that you’ve purchased are ripe, all you have to do is cut off the ends and take them out of their skin. Then, cut them up into whatever shape you want. You can either slice or cube them. It all depends on how you will be using them in your recipes.
Step 2 – Open freeze your plantains
Place your plantain pieces in a single layer onto a flat tray to open freeze them. Pop the tray with your plantains into the freezer for a few hours until the plantain pieces are frozen.
This allows the pieces to freeze individually and stops them from all sticking together in a big lump which will be impossible to separate when you want to use just some of your plantain pieces in your favorite dish.
Step 3 – Put your frozen plantain pieces in a sealed container or bag
Now that the individual pieces are frozen, you can place them in a freezer bag or plastic Ziploc bag before storing them in the freezer for up to 12 months.
Alternatively, you can put them in a freezer-proof container with a lid but make sure that this is airtight. You can even divide the pieces into individual portion sizes that you would normally use in your cooking.
Don’t forget to label your plantains and put the date of when they went into the freezer on the bag or container.
It’s also possible to freeze mashed plantains if that’s how you commonly use them. For this, all you have to do is mash them up well in a bowl. Then, add around one tablespoon of lemon juice for each whole fruit that you’ve mashed. This stops the mash from going brown.
Once your mash is ready and has been mixed with the lemon juice, you can spoon it into either a plastic Ziploc bag or an airtight freezer-proof container. Don’t forget to label the bag or the container.
It’s recommended that you use the frozen plantains within around three months so that they don’t have the chance to get freezer burn. However, if the bag or container is well-sealed and completely airtight, you should be able to keep them in the freezer for up to 12 months.
How to Dehydrate Ripe Plantains
Another way that you can preserve ripe plantain is by dehydrating them. Here are the steps to follow if you’re using a food dehydrator.
Step 1 – Cut up your plantains
Cut the ends off each plantain and take off the skin. Then, cut each plantain into ¼-inch thick slices. This is the ideal size for good dehydration or drying.
Step 2 – Place your plantain slices onto your dehydrator trays
You want to place the plantain slices in a single layer on the dehydrator trays making sure that there’s a little room between the slices for adequate airflow.
Step 3 – Turn on the dehydrator
Set the temperature on your dehydrator at 135 degrees Fahrenheit (57 degrees Celsius). Turn on your dehydrator and leave it on for around 6 to 10 hours. The time it takes to fully dehydrate your plantains will depend on how much moisture they contain, the type of dehydrator you have, and the general humidity.
Check the plantain slices after the recommended time to see if they are light and crisp. They should not have any moisture left in them and definitely shouldn’t still be soft or soggy.
Once the plantains are dry and have cooled down, you can place them in an airtight container and store them in a dark, cool spot such as your pantry. Make sure that you check your stored plantains the following day to ensure that there’s no evidence of condensation.
If you do see some moisture, just place the plantains back in the dehydrator for at least one more hour.