The purple mangosteen (Garcinia mangostana), colloquially known simply as mangosteen, is a tropical evergreen tree believed to have originated in the Sunda Islands and the Moluccas of Indonesia. It grows mainly in Southeast Asia, and it also grows in tropical South American countries such as Colombia, where the tree has been introduced.
Mangosteen is native to South East Asia and is known as the Queen of Tropical Fruits. Its tree produces fruit of the most delectable flavours. The fruit was first introduced into Australia in the 1940s but only became commercially available in the 1970s. Despite its name, mangosteen is not related to the mango.
The mangosteen fruit is round with a crown and stem attached. It ranges from 4 cm to 8 cm in diameter and weighs between 50 grams and 150 grams. The thick, leathery skin is deep purple when ripe and the flesh is pearly white and divided into five to seven segments. The fruit is harvested ripe, ready to eat.
Mangosteen is a fruit that melts in the mouth, with a taste that is subtle, delicate and sweet, yet acidic.
|Fruit, mangosteen, raw|
Buying and Storing Mangosteen
Choose fruits that have no skin imperfections or major discolouration. A green stem indicates that the fruit is fresh. The skin should yield when pressed gently. Mangosteen will keep for a few days without refrigeration, but storage at 10°C is ideal and extends shelf life to about 20 days. Refrigeration can cause damage to the fruit, so it is advisable to wrap the fruit in newspaper and store it in the upper part of the refrigerator. Once harvested, mangosteens do not ripen further.
Buying and Preparing Thai Mangosteen Fruit
Mangosteen is a dark purple fruit (white on the inside) from Southeast-Asia, Thailand being one of its largest producers. Although mangosteen sounds like a type of mango, it is actually a very different fruit. Now available at Asian markets (February to April), mangosteen is a deliciously sweet and juicy fruit that offers numerous health benefits in the form of antioxidants – both the fruit itself and the skin are incredibly potent disease-fighters. So find out how to prepare this incredible fruit and then go get your hands on some today!
- Shop for fresh mangosteens at your local Asian market. While they can be a tad expensive, mangosteens are well worth the money. Both the white fruit and the purple skin are suffused with disease-fighting antioxidants, anti-radicals, anti-aging agents and cancer-fighting agents. Mangosteens are the size of an orange and have orange-like segments of fruit, though the taste is very different. Mangosteens are a dark reddish-purple and have a rather “cute” cap-like stem. When shopping, look for fruit that is firm and deeply colored with stems and leaves that are green and fresh.
- Using a sharp knife, make a cut around the middle of the fruit (the circumference) of the mangosteen. The purple-red skin can be up to 1 cm thick, so you will need to cut fairly deep.
- Take the mangosteen in both hands and use your thumbs to pry open the fruit. Now you should be able to see the white segments (almost like an orange) at the fruit’s centre. Remove these segments from the purple “casing” (skin).
- Enjoy eating these luscious fruit segments right away, or use them to make a variety of desserts – from mangosteen sorbet to fruit salad to Mangosteen Clafouti.
- When shopping, avoid buying mangosteens that have blotchy-looking skin or crispy-brown leaves, as this means the fruit is old. Another sign of overripe mangosteens is a powdery yellow appearance on both skin and stem. Instead, look for consistently rich colour and fresh-looking green stems and leaves.
- When cutting a mangosteen, it’s best to wear an apron or old clothing, and avoid preparing it near furniture of any kind. The purple juice is so potent, it will create stains that are extremely difficult to get out. In fact, for this reason mangosteens are sometimes banned from certain Asian hotels and other public areas!
- Like oranges, mangosteen fruit segments sometimes have small to medium-size pits. If the pits are small and soft, you can eat them, otherwise it’s best to spit them out.
- To get the full health benefits of this wondrous fruit, try juicing the purple skin (this is where most of the health benefits lie). Note that the taste of juiced mangosteen peel is extremely sour and astringent – you will need to juice lots of carrots and apples along with the mangosteen to make it drinkable.
Recipes using Mangosteen
See our Mangosteen Recipe Collection