“We go to the hilltop. And when we finish the ceremony there, that’s when we divide the plantains… we leave a piece there, for the hill, and we divide the rest up between those who’ve accompanied me and those who are making lunch in the house.” –A Mayan priestess speaking of her initiation ceremony.
I love this wise fruit. Named Musa Paradisiaca, for “paradise,” because the plantain is said to be the first inhabitant of heaven. It is a grand bow, the golden king of fruits.
While there is no way to classify bananas and plantains separately, in common-speak a plantain is larger and starchier than a banana, and is usually eaten fried. That’s where we come in. Fried plantains glisten with oil and add a sweetness to Costa Rica’s national meal, gallo pinto (beans and rice). But my partner and I rarely eat fried food, and though our taste buds jump at this local delicacy, our stomachs balk.
So, about a week ago, my partner fried up some plantains in her own way—cutting them differently and using only a little coconut oil. We’ve been having them nearly everyday since. They’re that good.
Plantains are nutritious. They have lots of fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, B6, beta-carotene, calcium and potassium. Something deep in me says that plantains are healing food. I wonder if ancient peoples knew their secrets. A few sources tell me that perhaps they did.
“Practitioners of traditional medicine have long prized the starchy fruit for its medicinal properties, which reputedly include an ability to cure ulcers (this has been well studied). It is used in herbal medicine to treat sluggish bowels, to heal wounds, to fight skin infections, to reduce phlegm, to soothe urinary tract infections, and to ease dry coughs,” .
Whatever the medicinal value of plantain, this fruit feels healing to me, personally. I am grateful for the nourishment she offers. I am grateful for this ally, this friend.