Reaching for a banana for a healthy snack always seems like such a good idea — until you start peeling it and remember that those annoying little strings exist.
You know the ones: Those pale, dry strings that run the length of the banana and always seem to break in half when you try to remove them?
Well, as it turns out, they have a name — “phloem bundles” — and a purpose, reports Huffington Post.
The name refers to the tissue type, aka phloem, which act as the plant’s vascular system, delivering nutrients up and down the fruit.
Even the “unattractive name curiously recalls the unpleasant feeling that some experience when encountering a string,” Lorna Piatti-Farnell writes in Bananas: A Global History.
And while, yes, it is theoretically possible to engineer a banana without the strings, that doesn’t seem like a great idea, considering they’re what help make it more nutritious and all. Plus, it’s probably more important for researchers to focus instead on breeding bananas that can resist diseases that threaten their extinction.
Read more about these phloem bundles and learn some surprising uses for bananas on TODAY.