Agricultural scientists in Japan have developed a technique of growing bananas with a softer, digestible skin. The ‘freeze thaw awakening method’, discovered by D&T Farm, involves slowly cooling the banana growth cells to -60°C (-76°F) before they are thawed.

“It was created following research conducted by Setsuzo Tanaka who worked on this for a long time as a hobby,” said a spokesperson for D&T Farm. “The motivation for its development was the fact he wanted to eat a banana that was delicious and safe: people can eat the peel because it is cultivated organically without chemicals.”

Tanaka has spent forty years developing the Mongee banana, which roughly translates as ‘Incredible’ banana. The product went on sale last year in Okayama City, western Japan. Since they have only been produced on a small-scale thus far, they carry a hefty price for consumers at JPY648 (£4.32) per item.

The developers say that the fruit should ideally be eaten when little brown spots appear on the peel – then the whole banana can consumed safely and nutritiously.

“Banana peel can contain vitamin B6 and magnesium and is rich in tryptophan and there is also potassium, polyphenol, but there are many water soluble vitamins, zinc in particular,” Tanaka said.

The 68-year-old company also mentioned that the growing time for Mongee bananas was much faster with the new technique, decreased from two years to six months.

SoraNews24 conducted a taste-test on the Mongee bananas and found the banana easy to consume, noting that the skin was particularly thin compared to more common varieties of banana.

“Since it’s very thin, there’s no strange texture, and compared to the sweetness of the banana there isn’t much flavour to the skin,” the news site said. The review commented that the skin had a strong tropical taste, akin to a pineapple.

A D&T Farm spokesperson said the company is aiming to produce ten times more bananas this year than it produced in 2017. The company hopes to manufacture bananas for the international commercial market.

Tanaka concluded: “I would like to disseminate bananas without agricultural chemicals to the world.”