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Photo: D&T Farms

Japanese Company D&T Farms has developed an organic banana with a peel thin enough to eat, using a unique “freeze thawing awakening” method.

The inventor, Setsuzo Tanaka, named the fruit Mongee, meaning “incredible banana” in Japanese.

Tanaka had a vision to produce a banana with a richer, sweeter taste than current varities– and do it without the use of pesticides.

Bananas have become exceptionally vulnerable to fungus and disease, making the use of pesticides a necessity for growers. But Tanaka was able to engineer a breed of the popular but now-rare Gros Michel bananas that are cold-resistant. This allowed him to start growing the bananas at extreme temperatures, as low as -76 degrees F. The plants are then thawed and replanted in a drastically different environment, with temperatures jumping to 80 degrees.

This “freeze thawing awakening” method expedites the fruit’s growth, causing it to become ripe before the skin can fully develop. According to D&T Farms, the skin has more of a lettuce-type texture that makes it easier to eat, but is reportedly fairly bland in taste. The Farm’s website claims the banana peel contains tryptophan, vitamin B6 and magnesium.

The fruit has a strong “tropical” taste, reminiscent of a pineapple.

Currently, D&T Farms is only selling a weekly batch of 10 Mongee bananas to one local market in Japan, where consumers purchase them for $6 apiece.

Cavendish bananas are what most consumers around the world have become accustomed to eating, but they are commonly thought of as being blander and mushier than their predecessor – the Gros Michel. Gros Michels were popular because of their rich, sweet taste, until the 1950s when the fungus known as Panama disease wiped them out. Cavendish bananas survived the disease outbreak, so farmers quickly replanted those seedlings and replaced Gros Michels.

Bananas are at the top of the list for the most consumed fruit in both Japan and the U.S. Tanaka is interested in exporting the Mongee apples to the U.S., but expects it will take years before that plan is a reality. Additionally, questions remain whether the thinner skin of the banana could hold up on long journeys to supermarkets around the world without bruising or going bad.
 

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