Japanese farmers introduced the Mongee banana - a new type of banana that has an edible peel. Mongee translates to incredible, making this the incredible banana. A new growing technique was invented to produce the Mongee bananas with a thinner peel that makes it easier to eat.
Previously avocados received a similar innovation when they were produced without the large pit.
Setsuzo Tanaka invented the Mongee banana by creating a new method of production called the "freeze-thaw awakening." Bananas are usually grown at 80°F (27°C), Setsuzo's bananas are grown at -76°F (-60°C). The bananas are first grown at the low temperatures and then replanted in the 80°F temperature.
This spurs the bananas trees to grow rapidly. Bananas grown from these trees have a thinner, softer peel that doesn't mature and harden like regular bananas. It also changes the way that the peel tastes.
Unfortunately, due to the scarce production numbers of the bananas, they're not available outside of Japan. Reviews from those able to try the Mongee banana show that besides the edible peel, they're nothing like regular bananas.
A review of the banana posted by SoraNews24 in Japan shows those differences. Unlike the regular or Cavendish banana that has been described as bland, the Mongee apparently has a "very strong tropical flavor" calling it "almost pineapple-like."
The skin on the Mongee banana is described as lettuce-like by the farm that grows them, D&T Farms.
Gros Michel Revival
Setsuzo's desire wasn't initially to grow a banana with a more edible peel. He wanted to bring back the Gros Michel banana which was once "the banana" on the market before being replaced by the now ubiquitous Cavendish banana. Setsuzo wanted to bring back the Gros Michel because it has a richer taste than the Cavendish. A taste test showed the artificial banana flavor found in products resembles that of the Gros Michel.
Gros Michel bananas were almost wiped out during the 1960s by a fungus called Panama disease. To avoid using having his crop be ravaged by Panama disease, he invented the "freeze-thaw awakening" method.
This process is responsible for creating the Mongee banana. This would also explain the banana's differing taste as noted by the reviewer for the Japanese outlet.
Finding this banana may prove difficult even in Japan. D&T Farm ships only hundreds of bananas throughout the country. Each banana sells for $6 each.