Mangosteen: Sweet, Tangy, Delicious

I fondly remember the time I first learned about the mangosteen.  When I had my first taste of mangosteen, it was in a Snapple juice blend.  I forget the name of the flavor, but I think it was mangosteen and passion fruit flavored.  It was pretty good, but when I first read the label, I had never heard of a fruit named “mangosteen.”  I had just thought, at the time, that the fruit mangosteen must have been an exotic twist on the mango.  After about an hour, I had another look at the bottle, and it showed a drawing of a fruit I had never seen before, a lush, purple fruit with a pure-looking white inside.  I searched it up on the internet, and there it was – a fruit I didn’t even know about for the first 15 years of my life.

It’s hard to find fresh mangosteens in the US – they grow on tropical evergreen trees and are thought to have first been grown and cultivated in the Sunda Islands and the Moluccas of Indonesia.  In my recent trip to Southeast Asia, I managed to get a taste of several mangosteens, and they were absolutely delicious.

Well, now that I’m familiar with the mangosteen, here’s an introduction to this exotic fruit.  The mangosteen is actually called the “purple mangosteen.”  It’s very unique; I haven’t seen any other fruit quite like it.  The outer part, or rind, of the mangosteen is a dark purple when the fruit is ripe, but cannot be eaten.  The inside of the mangosteen is the edible part – it’s actually the ovary of the fruit.  As a person who’s tasted the fruit, it’s unlike any other fruit I’ve tasted: both sweet and somewhat tangy, and both juicy and fibrous.

Mangosteens

Whole mangosteens and a cut-open mangosteen

One of the most fun parts of eating a mangosteen is peeling it.  The first time I tried a mangosteen, my friends told me to simply apply pressure to the outer rind, and it’d split open crisply.  So, that’s it – how to eat a mangosteen!

As for the nutritional benefits of the mangosteen, the mangosteen is amazingly unique.  Though the mangosteen does not contain a significant amount of the basic vitamins compared to other exotic fruits, xanthones from the fibers of the mangosteen have been researched over and over and found to give many potential health benefits, though scientists are not sure.  This is really attractive to me – after all, we get plenty of basic vitamins in other parts of our diet, but definitely not the polyphenols and xanthonoids that mangosteens provide.

Not only are mangosteens valued in the modern world for their health benefits, mangosteens have traditionally been used in many folk and traditional medicines of Southeast Asia.

It’s quite hard to find fresh mangosteens in the US: try ordering online! Frieda’s Fresh Mangosteen. Or, try some Xango mangosteen juice, packing in all the health benefits fresh mangosteen provides: Xango Juice/ Mangosteen 4 Bottles

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