'Sweet, tasty and surprisingly moreish': Putting Japanese edible banana skins to the test

Danielle Demetriou

With dark blemished skin and a strong sweet aroma, they look like the kind of bananas that most shoppers would walk straight past in the supermarket.

Yet the pair of carefully-wrapped bananas, which recently arrived at my home in Tokyo after a 400 mile journey from Okayama prefecture, are clearly no ordinary fruits.

They are Mongee Bananas, which recently acquired global fame as the first in the world to be cultivated with 100 per cent edible peel, thanks to an innovative deep freezing technique developed by D&T Farm.

Preparing to put the bananas to the test, I gently unwrap one and place the chilled, but slightly soft fruit – of which up to 10 are currently sold a week, only in Okayama – onto a chopping board.

A sweet smell lingers as the knife slices easily into the dark banana – and I’m surprised to see how thin the skin is compared to more conventional bananas.

When I place a piece in my mouth, I find it is easy to bite straight through the peel – and note, with some relief, that despite its darkened appearance, it is very easy to eat.

The peel practically dissolves as it is so soft, while the flavour is sweet but manages to avoid feeling unpalatably syrupy. In short? It’s sweet, tasty – and surprisingly moreish.

My two banana-loving children are not won over quite so easily: while my five-year-old cautiously claims it is delicious but takes only a small nibble, my three-year-old bluntly turns up her nose and declares it “not tasty”.

Perhaps even more surprising than its edible skin is the price tag: at 648 yen a piece (£4.20), it easily eclipses the cost of a conventional supermarket banana.

But bearing in mind Japan is a country where fruits have long been regarded as a luxury status symbol, it’s perhaps the best possible place for it to have been invented.

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