Bananas should have a strong, bright colour, and feel reasonably firm and plump. They need to be stored at room temperature (the skin turns black if the fruit is refrigerated), where they will keep for about a week depending on their ripeness when bought. The flesh discolours on contact with air, so peel as near to use as possible.
Plantains will probably have some brown or black areas on the skin, which won’t affect their taste.
Bananas cook beautifully: as fritters and in rum and coconut-based desserts; in tea breads, cakes and biscuits; and in savoury dishes such as curries. Plantains are always cooked, by baking whole in their skins – in a moderate oven this will take 45 minutes – or frying in slices or ‘chips’. They are also added to Caribbean curries, and cooked and mashed to make a sort of porridge.