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Getting ready to make some fried plantains, but I wanted to get a jump on prep before caramelizing in place (approximately 2 hours from prep). If I cut them now, and they oxidize, will this inhibit their caramelization? Would oxidation promote caramelization?

It is possible to prevent oxidation of bananas and plantains with use of an acidulated water soak for three to five minutes, then pat dry. However, the plantains are a bit too ripe and soft to be able to pat dry without either leaving behind paper bits or mussing the surface of the fruit.

How does oxidation impact caramelization, if at all, and if the plantains oxidize, what would be the best method for caramelization?

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I wasn't aware that plantains oxidized visibly at all. At least, the green ones don't. I'd imagine that this would have zero effect on caramelization, but I've never tested that, so I won't post an answer. –  FuzzyChef Feb 21 '12 at 4:09
    
@FuzzyChef It appears (both in google and on my countertop from leftovers) that the oxidation isn't as pronounced as it would be with a banana, avocado, or potato (my main fear). If you can find any information confirming zero effect on caramelization I'd be happy to mark answered –  mfg Feb 21 '12 at 16:05

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If the plantains were on the greener side, they would take longer to fry than riper plantains like you have. The more ripe plantains are, the higher their sugar content, and the faster they will caramelize. The only effect of oxidation is an increased speed of caramelization. They will be done when they are soft and brown, but be careful not to let them burn since the sugar content will make them brown in less than 10 minutes.

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