Mongee Banana

This banana has an edible peel

A Japanese agricultural research company has developed a rare and expensive banana with an edible peel. This is a fascinating story….

Called the Mongee — pronounced “mon-gay,” which is slang for “incredible” in Japanese — the freaky fruit is grown using an extreme freezing and thawing process.

It’s the work of Japanese agricultural R&D company, D&T Farm, whose spokesman, Tetsuya Tanaka, says the idea began as a research “hobby” for technical development manager, Setsuzo Tanaka, and evolved from there.

First, scientists plant and grow banana trees in an environment kept at negative -60°C. Then, the team thaws and replants them.

The change in temperature encourages the plants to rapidly grow, and leaves the fruit with a peel that has a texture like “lettuce,” Tetsuya says. (Regular bananas are usually grown in temperatures around 27°C+.)

D&T Farm claims they have exceptional nutritional qualities. “Banana peel is an excellent ingredient,” the company’s English website reads, adding that the peels may contain vitamin B6, magnesium and tryptophan.

That’s all good and well, but what do they taste like?

According to D&T’s website, Mongees are sweeter than their traditional relatives, with nearly five more grams of sugar per fruit.

Tetsuya adds that, unlike the exterior of ordinary bananas, Mongees’ peels don’t taste bitter.

Journalists at the Tokyo-based website RocketNews24 tested them out last month and found that they had a “very strong tropical flavour”, like a pineapple. In an article, they describe the skin as “very thin,” with “no strange texture” and “fairly easy to eat.”

For comparison’s sake, a RocketNews24 reporter later bit into a regular banana — skin and all — from Ecuador. Predictably, he found the peel inedible.

Unfortunately, Mongees probably won’t be cropping up at any local western supermarkets anytime soon: production costs are so high for these bananas, only 10 of them go on sale each week in an Okayama prefecture department store in western Japan, averaging at a wallet-busting $5.75 or R69 apiece.

Source: New York Post