USES: When green, plantains are fried for chips or cooked as a starchy stew vegetable. When ripe, they are cooked (usually fried) as a dessert or sweet ingredient in meat dishes or sauces.
FINDING: In many Mexican and well-stocked general groceries.
CHOOSING: To use plantains green, choose ones that are firm and have a green tinge to the yellow skin. To use ripe, choose plantains that are fully soft and are nearly completely black--much riper looking than regular bananas. If you buy green plantains, allow about a week for them to ripen.
STORING: At room temperature, uncovered, until ripe. Once ripe, in the refrigerator, uncovered for up to a week.