Bananas (guineos) come in many varieties and are a staple food on the Island. Utilized like potatoes when green, they are similar in texture and flavor when cooked. Really fresh uncooked green bananas will ooze lots of white, loose sap when the skin is cut. This sap can stain your fingers black and some people will use rubber gloves under lots of water when peeling them. This sap will also stick to the sides of the pot when cooking and it is somewhat difficult to remove.
My favorite dishes prepared with green bananas are escabeche de guineos (marinated green bananas) and boiled green bananas as a side dish. For years, I used to peel the green bananas prior to cooking for my dishes, which is quite a chore. Along the way, I found out how to avoid the sap issue and make my life easier when cooking the bananas. What’s the secret? Whole milk. Huh? Yes, it works!
Here’s how to cook your green bananas without the sap hassle: 1) rinse the green bananas in the sink 2) cut off both ends of each banana 3) make a cut on the peel lengthwise along a ridge from top to bottom 4) fill a 6 quart pot with cold water two thirds of the way and season with salt, place the cut bananas 5) add 1/8 cup of cold whole milk to the water in the pot 6) boil the bananas for approximately 20 minutes over medium high heat until soft (they are fully cooked when a knife is inserted directly into the banana and it does not offer resistance, much like a potato). Once cooked, the skin will be supple, split open along the slit and very easy to remove.
Once the bananas are fully cooked, drain the water from the pot and place them on a plate. Immediately, remove the skin from the cooked hot bananas by inserting a fork right under the banana skin, lift the fork and pull upwards. The banana will slide or roll right out of the skin. Discard the hot peels. All you now have to do is cut into bite size pieces, drizzle lots of extra virgin olive oil all over them (my favorite originating in Spain) and enjoy!