Guineos: gee (like glee without the “l”) – nay – ohs
Not to be confused with male guinea pigs…
Guineos are super unripe bananas used in a variety of sauces to complement and thicken the flavor, thicken the consistency, and add a healthy helping of vitamins and minerals. Guineos taste great and depending on which Tico you talk to, they can be good for your heart, nervous system, bones, digestive system, blood, as a sedative or even a mood enhancer. So they’re good for everything except the skin? Shoot, I’ve always thought bananas are a super food, so I don’t see why all of that can’t be true.
Preparing guineos for a sauce is an adventure all on its own, which is why I chose to create a separate post dedicated entirely to this crazy ingredient.
When you work with the guineo, you have to peel the skin and it secretes a substance so sticky that it permeates all plastics and becomes an indestructible sticky stain. Kiss your sanity goodbye for the next few days as you try various things to rid your cutting board, bowls, and fingers of the tacky gray gook.
But guess what?! There are steps to take to avoid the worst of this sticky mess.
Step 1. Cut the tips off of each end of the guineo. Put a paper towel or some sort of disposable, biodegradable buffer between the cutting board and the guineo. You do not want the tips leaking super glue all over the place.
Step 2. Soak them in a bowl (preferably metal) of salt water for 15 minutes to an hour.
Step 3. Take them out of the salt water and peel them over the salt water. You will find that they are a lot less messy to peel and sooo much easier to work with after their salt water bath.
After peeling, drop the whole guineo into the sauce for cooking. It will maintain its shape, but soften up and absorb the delicious flavors from the sauce.
I use about 3 guineos per 2 raw cups of beans.
Tip: Clean up any stray stickiness with salt and vinegar. There will be some mess, it’s inevitable.