You know those weird little fleshy strings on your banana that get in your way as soon as you peel them open?
Yeah, those. They are kind of weird, right? A lot of people hate them or at least could do without them, but did you know that they actually serve a very important purpose?
The strings, or "phloem bundles" more technically, send nutrients to your banana, according to Huffington Post. There you go.
According to Dole's Research Vice President Nicholas D. Gillitt, phloem bundles are perfectly edible and healthy, though of course it's up to personal taste whether or not they are gross enough to peel off.
"In general, all parts of fruits are healthy," Gillitt, who has a Ph.D. in physical/inorganic chemistry, told Huffington Post. "We eat the skins of apples, pears, etc., and we could eat the skins of bananas -- including the phloem bundles -- if we find them palatable, but there is no evidence to suggest they are harmful."
It is "likely" that they have a somewhat different nutritional makeup than the rest of the banana flesh, especially since they probably have "more and varied types of fiber and structural components required for their function," although nobody has really tested this, he added.
"Since they are intended to do a specific job, and as such likely have a defined structure which supports that job, they would be expected to have a different compound profile to the regular edible banana flesh," he explained.
He also said that "it is potentially possible" to make bananas without the phloem bundles but wasn't convinced that this was an endeavor anyone was interested in, since he has never heard any "meaningful" complaints about them.
In other words, if you are one of those people who despises those bundles with the fire of a thousand stringy suns, you're out of luck.
Sorry, banana string haters. You'll have to continue manually removing them.
Fortunately for anyone who can't stand the phloem bundles, there's a trick you might want to try: according to a totally-not-so-scientific experiment from Slate, if you break from conventional wisdom and peel your banana from the "bottom" end -- that is, the part without a stem -- you'll be much more likely to remove the majority of those pesky little fiber strings right off the bat.