photo courtesy of mongeebanana.com

They're so expensive to produce that only ten of them go on sale each week

Mike Pomranz
January 26, 2018

On the count of three, let’s all say the most annoying thing we deal with on a regular basis. One, two, three… peeling bananas! Exactly! I knew we were all on the same page about that. Well, I have good news: A farm in Japan has developed a special type of banana that you can eat without removing the peel. Meet the Mongee Banana.

Named after a local slang word for incredible and pronounced “mon-gay,” Mongee Bananas weren’t created using crossbreeding or genetic engineering. The process is even more bizarre. Instead, these bananas, produced exclusively by D&T Farm in Okayama Prefecture, were reportedly created by first growing banana trees at negative 76 degrees Fahrenheit before being thawed and replanted at a more normal temperature, but still one that is lower than the tropical climate bananas are usually grown in. As a result, the fruit grows with an edible peel that has a texture similar to “lettuce,” as Tetsuya Tanaka, a spokesman for the farm, told the NY Post. Tetsuya said the whole thing came about from the farm’s technical development manager’s research “hobby.” Hey, some people relax with gardening; others relax with extreme gardening.

As for the taste, D&T Farm boasts that these bananas have five more grams of sugar per fruit, making them sweeter than your typical banana. And health-wise, they also claim that the peel “is an excellent ingredient” that's potentially packed with vitamins. 

Meanwhile, Japan’s SoraNews24 actually got their hands on the rare fruit and described it as having “a very strong tropical flavor … almost pineapple-like,” adding, “It’s definitely not a normal banana.” The skin apparently didn’t have much flavor at all but was definitely edible. The site even tried eating a normal banana peel for comparison and quickly found it was too fibrous to consume.

However, don’t expect to be chowing down on banana skins in the States anytime soon. D&T Farm says the product is so pricey to produce that only ten of them go on sale each week and that tiny supply is earmarked for a single department store nearby. Even if you could score a Mongee, you might not want to make them a regular part of your diet. You pay quite the premium for the change to chew on the skin: about $5.75 per fruit. That said, all is not lost: “We are also considering export [to the US], but it is likely [to take a while],” Tetsuya told the Post. Don’t worry; we’ll be waiting.

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