Mongee bananas have a skin that's fully edible, pesticide-free, and filled with vitamins.
If you find it annoying to peel a banana every time you crave one, farmers in Japan have come up with something you'll probably love: the Mongee banana (pronounced “mon-gay”). It looks just like a typical banana, but the skin is green, with a leaf-like texture.
If it all sounds a little too science fiction for your taste, check this out: These crops of bananas are not genetically modified. Scientists at D&T Farm, a agricultural research company in Japan, made the Mongee banana by growing regular banana trees in below freezing temperatures (read: minus 75 degrees). Then they thawed and replanted the trees, during a process called the freeze-thawing awakening method.
Here's something else: D&T points out that in addition to potassium, Mongee bananas have vitamin B6, magnesium, and possibly sleep-inducing tryptophan (which we normally associate with turkey in the U.S.).
Normally it’s difficult to grow crops bananas without the use of pesticides, but in Okinawa, Japan, where Mongee bananas were developed, the naturally occurring environment that attracts the “enemies” in tropical regions don't exist.
But how, exactly, do you eat a peel-free banana, without making a mess? According to the company, it's best enjoyed sliced up (you can tell a Mongee banana is ready to be eaten once brown spots form on the peel).
Currently, D&T is only providing 10 Mongee bananas a week to Tenmaya Okayama, a department store in Japan. Because they're rare they're pricey—one banana costs about $5.75, according to Today Show report.
No word yet whether these peel-free bananas are coming to a Whole Foods or Trader Joe's near you anytime soon, but we'll be on the lookout!