Craving a Banana Peel? Japan Has the Perfect Fruit

Peel from Japan's Monchee banana has texture like 'lettuce' and a slightly bitter taste
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 31, 2018 3:49 PM CST
Yum?   (Getty Images/tomch)

(Newser) – About the only thing banana peels were good for up to this point were comedy pratfalls and composting. A farm in Japan appears to have changed that, producing a banana with a tasty edible peel thanks to what Quartz labels a "bizarre method of production." The technique used by D&T Farm to create the Mongee banana is called "freeze thaw awakening." The process involves starting banana trees out in an environment that's nearly minus-80 degrees Fahrenheit, then moving the trees with their still-ripening bananas to a more temperate climate of around 80 degrees—an environment banana trees typically grow in the entire time. The extreme temperature variation puts the banana's growth into a sort of hyperspeed mode, so the peel doesn't fully mature, leaving it with a texture like "lettuce," a D&T Farm spokesman says, per the New York Post.

Taste-testers for the RocketNews24 site in Japan say the banana fruit itself—which has about 5 more grams of sugar per banana than the regular version—boasts a "very strong tropical flavor" akin to that of a pineapple, but using the descriptor "edible" for the skin may need tweaking. Although it's said not to have a "strange texture" and is "fairly easy to eat," the tasters add there "isn't much flavor"; one experimenter even said it was somewhat bitter, though not as much so as the peels of regular bananas, which he also tasted. Not that most people will get to sample it: The Mongee banana, which comes in batches of 10, is currently being sold in just one regional Japanese outlet, with each banana going for around $6. (These scientists flew across the world on a failed banana quest.)

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