You might think if you’ve eaten one banana you’ve eaten them all. But thanks to a recent crop development from Japan, there’s a new 'nana on the market—and get this: you can eat the peel.
Yes, that’s right. There’s now a banana with a thin, edible peel that lets you bite right into the fruit the same way you would an apple or a pear. It’s called the Mongee (pronounced “mon-gay”), which is slang for “incredible” in Japanese. Seems fitting if you ask us!
Scientists developed the Mongee by experimenting with a method called "freeze-thaw awakening.” The special bananas grow in a chilling -60°C indoor environment (regular bananas grow in tropical climates), then the fruit is thawed and replanted, according to a farm spokesman. The drastic change in temperature causes the fruit to rapidly grow and produce a skin that is thin like lettuce. (Bonus: Since Mongees grow in cold, indoor climates where the fruit doesn’t have any natural predators, it eliminates the need for pesticides.)
As for the flavour, writers have said that the skin is basically tasteless but that the fruit itself is sweeter than a typical banana and has a pineapple-like flavoor. Since the fruit tastes sweeter, it should come as no surprise that Mongees have about five more grams of sugar than their traditional relatives. And according to the banana farm’s website, the peel itself is a good source of vitamin B6 and magnesium. Although the company has not provided a full nutritional profile of the Mongee, the "meat" of the fruit likely provides potassium as well as vitamins C and B-6, like it's conventional cousins.
We’re all for exciting and tasty new ways to consume vital nutrients, but getting your hands on a Mongee isn’t exactly easy. Currently, they're only sold in western Japan, and only ten pieces of fruit go to market each week— and they sell for a whopping $5.75 a pop!
The good news: They are considering exporting Mongees overseas, but note that it will likely take some time to work out the logistics.