Plantains and Bananas
Few fruits can boast a heritage as interesting, ancient and colourful as the banana. It is said that the Serpent from Paradise tried tempting Eve with a bunch of bananas. Consequently, one family of this tropical fruit has been named Musa Paradisiaca (Heavenly Fruit). It is also claimed that the great philosophers of our past sat in the shade of this tropical plant during their lectures. Hence, another family of this fruit is known as Musa Sapientum (Fruit of Knowledge).
Edible Musa Paradisiaca spp. originated in southeastern Asia. The fruit’s most common name “bananas” originated in Africa and is used to denote a variety that can be eaten raw as opposed to plantains which must be cooked. Although probably utilized by native people for thousands of years, bananas were not carried to Europe until the 10th century. Seedlings were taken from West Africa to South America in the 16th century, and to the Caribbean with settlement of the area in the 16th – 17th centuries. Bananas are grown pantropically in great numbers, and along with plantains these crops are grown in economic quantities in more countries of the world than any other crop. Although not the world’s largest producer, Ecuador is the largest banana exporter in the world. Both bananas and plantains belong to the family Musaceae, genus Musa Paradisiaca.
ECOFRUT Plantain Chips are made with fresh, green and ripe plantains (Musa Paradisiaca ABB). Fresh plantains are always consumed cooked, fried or baked, whether green or ripe. Plantains are best known as a vegetable rather than a fruit because they are larger than bananas and cannot be eaten raw.
Depending on the Latin American country of consumption, plantain chips are commonly known as “platanitos”, “chifles”, “chipilos”, “tostones” or “patacones”. They fall in the category of salty snacks, not to be confused with so-called dried fruit snacks such as the Asian-type banana chips which are traditionally made from partially ripened bananas fried in coconut oil and honey flavoured.