Tonight I jumped in the deep end of the pool and asked about this basket, “full of bananas.” These are not bananas. “Plátanos?” I asked. The answer, apparently, is complicated. An hour, and a page of notes later, I can’t tell them apart, but at least I know enough to be humbled by the variety.
Now, I’ll share what I learned. I’m pretty sure they’re just toying with me, because when my Señora mentioned the Dominican verde, her daughter was adamant that she shouldn’t name just one variety unless she was going to talk about all of them. So, this shall be the Cliff Notes of bananas: Giños, sedas, and plátanos.
If I placed these plátanos, they are all that, on a scale based on sweetness and firmness, it would look like this: Baraganete, verde, maduro, maceño, platano rosado, banana, horito. The first four can be used like a masa in place of flour. They can also be made into tortillas, stuffed with cheese and fried, sliced and fried, squished and fried, then salted, or sweetened.
The main aspect that determines how they’re prepared is the firmness and the graininess of the texture. Baraganetes are not good for patacones because they fall apart like sand, unlike the verdes that stick together nicely. Anything from rosados on down is too soft to be cooked, so they are eaten raw.
You buy them by the “hand”. One hand of 7-10 plátanos should cost about a dollar. If you get less, or smaller than usual, you should look annoyed and say, “La yappa, eh?” Then they will give you a little more.
I proposed that we should cook them up and my Señora laughed. If I read her indirect communication right that’s Ecuadorian for ‘no’.