What if banana skins were useful for more than old-school practical jokes? A Japanese farm has the answer: peels that you just eat with the banana.
They’re called Mongee (“amazing”) bananas, and they’re only grown by D&T Farm in Okayama Prefecture, where farmer Setsuzo Tanaka has been working on the concept for four decades.
According to an Australian Broadcasting Corporation report, Tanaka has developed a technique that involves freezing, thawing and replanting the seedlings of a tropical banana variety called Gros Michel. This makes the bananas grow more quickly, with thinner skins than usual—although Gros Michel, the most popular banana variety in the first half of the twentieth century, is already thin-skinned.
The Mongee bananas are apparently very sweet, with a “lettuce-like” texture.
Not many people get to try them out for themselves, though, as they are only available at one Japanese department store, where a mere 10 are made available each week at a price of 648 yen ($6) a piece. However, that might change: Tanaka reportedly wants to expand sales throughout Japan before potentially turning to the global market.
According to an explanation sent from D&T Farm to the Guardian, the peel is “cultivated organically without chemicals” and is therefore entirely safe to eat.