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Japanese scientists develop the Mongee banana that you can eat with the peel on

Jane Ridley, February 21, 2018 7:16PM New York Post

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The Mongee banana has a peel you can eat without removing it from the fruit. Picture: D&T Farm media_cameraThe Mongee banana has a peel you can eat without removing it from the fruit. Picture: D&T Farm

science

Reading level: green

Japanese scientists have created a banana you can eat with the peel on.

Called the Mongee — pronounced Mon-gay, which is slang for “incredible” in Japanese — the freaky fruit has a super thin peel and is grown using an extreme* freezing and thawing* process.

The idea for an edible banana peel began as a research hobby. Picture: D&T Farm media_cameraThe idea for an edible banana peel began as a research hobby. Picture: D&T Farm

D&T Farm spokesman Tetsuya Tanaka said the idea began as a research hobby for technical development manager Setsuzo Tanaka and evolved* from there.

First, scientists plant and grow banana trees in an environment kept at -60C.

Then, the team thaws and replants them.

The change in temperature encourages the plants to grow rapidly and leaves the fruit with a peel like “lettuce”, Mr Tetsuya said.

Regular bananas are usually grown in temperatures around 26C.

D&T Farm claims Mongee bananas have terrific nutritional qualities.

“Banana peel is an excellent ingredient,” the company’s English website reads, adding that the peels may contain important vitamins and minerals.

But what do they taste like?

According to D&T’s website, Mongees are sweeter than normal bananas, with almost 5g more sugar per fruit.

Eating fruit at lunch time could soon be easier if bananas with peels you can eat become common in Australia. media_cameraEating fruit at lunch time could soon be easier if bananas with peels you can eat become common in Australia.

Mr Tetsuya said that, unlike the outside of ordinary bananas, Mongees’ peels don’t taste bitter.

Journalists at the Tokyo-based website RocketNews24 tested them out last month and found they had a “very strong tropical flavour,” like a pineapple.

They described the skin as “very thin,” with “no strange texture” and “fairly easy to eat.”

One brave reporter later bit into a regular banana — skin and all — and said he found that peel inedible*.

Unfortunately, Mongees probably won’t be cropping up in Australia anytime soon — costs to produce them are so high, only 10 of them go on sale each week in a department store in western Japan and they cost a whopping $7.20 each.


This article originally appeared on The New York Post and has been republished here with permission.

Australia will have to be satisfied with normal bananas for now as only 10 of the Mongee ones are being sold in Japan a week and are not available here. media_cameraAustralia will have to be satisfied with normal bananas for now as only 10 of the Mongee ones are being sold in Japan a week and are not available here.

GLOSSARY

extreme: very great

thawing: become soft or liquid from warming up

evolved: develop slowly

inedible: not suitable for eating

LISTEN TO TODAY’S STORY

CLASSROOM ACTIVITIES

1. Read the story carefully and answer these questions:

a. What is a Mongee?

b. Where did the Mongee get its name?

c. How are Mongees grown?

d. How is this different to the way normal bananas are grown?

e. What are the benefits of Mongees?

Time: Allow 25 minutes.

Curriculum Links: English.

Extension: Today’s story is about a new ‘freaky fruit’, but what do you know about how ordinary bananas come from the farm to your lunchbox? Find out about this. Use the information that you have found to create a flow chart or step-by-step guide that shows how bananas are grown, harvested and transported to us.

Include the following information: where bananas are grown, why they are grown in those places, what type of plant grows bananas, how they are picked, the different jobs involved in getting the banana from the farm to your local shop, how the bananas are transported, how they keep the bananas from spoiling on the way and anything else you think is interesting or important.

Time: Allow 60 minutes.

Curriculum Links: Science, Humanities: Economics and Business.

2. Invent a new and tasty freaky fruit!

Create an information sheet or poster about your new fruit. You should include a drawing or picture of your fruit, a name that really helps describe your fruit, a description of your fruit – colour, shape, taste, texture, and sentences explaining what is so good about it.

Time: Allow 30 minutes.

Curriculum Links: Critical and Creative Thinking, Visual Communication Design.

Extension: Write a script for (and maybe record) a radio ad for your freaky fruit. Don’t forget to include a jingle (a kind of song used in ads), music, sound effects as well. Send your finished ad to Kids News at kidsnews@news.com.au. We’d love to hear them.

Time: Allow 30 minutes.

Curriculum Links: Media Arts, English

VCOP ACTIVITY

After reading the article, with a partner, highlight as many wow words or ambitious pieces of vocabulary that you can find in yellow. Discuss the meanings of these words and see if you can use them orally in another sentence.

IN ONE SENTENCE, TELL US WHAT YOU LIKE ABOUT TODAY’S STORY

Please do not use one-word answers. Explain exactly what you enjoyed about the article. Use lots of adjectives.

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