Ripen plantains by placing them out of direct sunlight and storing them at room temperature. Turn the plantains daily as they ripen. It typically takes plantains between seven and 10 days to ripen completely.
Once the plantains become ripe, eat them right away or freeze them for up to three months. The plantains must be peeled before they are frozen. Ripe plantains are easy to peel, but green plantains must be peeled by first slicing off both ends with a sharp knife and then slitting the skin of the fruit from tip to tip. Peel off the skin under cold running water. This prevents the peel from staining the skin on your hands. Remove the skin by peeling it off sideways in one piece. If the plantain will be used for cooking, place it in a bowl of salt water to prevent it from becoming discolored.
Green plantains have a bland, starchy flavor that is similar to yucca roots or potatoes. Plantains that are medium-ripe are either completely yellow or yellow with some black coloring covering the skin. The taste of medium-ripe plantains is slightly sweet. Plantains that are completely ripe have skin that is almost completely black, and they have an aromatic smell and sweet flavor.