- Food and Cooking
How to Eat Mangosteen, the Exotic Queen of Fruits
The mangosteen is a dark purple fruit the size of a tangerine. It has a hard shell and soft white flesh inside. To eat a mangosteen, cut into the shell along the equator and pull apart the two halves -- the top halve and the bottom halve. And simply eat the white flesh and spit out any seeds. Yellowish flesh indicates spoilage and should not be eaten.
The below video by videojug, shows a couple of good cutting techniques. Although, the video incorrectly calls the mangosteen the "king of fruit". The mangosteen is more commonly known as the "queen of fruit". The distinction of "king of fruit" goes to the durian fruit. If you do a web search of "queen of fruit" and "king of fruit", you will find that this is the case.
Both the durian and the mangosteen are found in Southeast Asia. The durian is much larger and have a stronger odor than the mangosteen. The durian have a warming effect on the body, while the mangosteen has a cooling effect.
Why Mangosteen is the Queen of Fruit
The mangosteen's distinction of being "queen of fruit" originated by David Fairchild who made reference to mangosteen as "the queen of tropical fruit" in his book "Exploring for plants" in 1930. Folklore also has it that Queen Victoria once offered 100 pounds to anyone who would bring her magnosteen. [reference]
How to Eat Mangosteen
1. Select a good mangosteen
Avoid ones with yellowish spots. Those yellowish spots are latex or sap, which can enter from the rind into the fruit making it bitter. Preferably, find one that has green leaf at the top.
On the bottom of mangosteen are brown raised ridges that look like a star or petals of a flower. Each petal correspond to a section of flesh in the clove of the mangosteen. The more sections, the smaller each section. Large sections may have seed which you need to spit out.
2. Wash the mangosteen
Thoroughly wash off any dirt and sap and etc off of the fruit.
3. Cut through equator
Cut the rind at its equator, but not deep enough to cut into the white flesh. The purple rind can sometime stain hands and clothes, so be careful. Perhaps that is why the person in the video was wearing gloves when cutting.
While all mangosteen have tough thick rind, a rind that is especially tough to cut through may indicate an old magosteen and hence greater chance of spoilage inside.
4. Scoop out the flesh
Once you crack open the mangosteen into a top halve and bottom halve to expose the white flesh, use a spoon to scoop out the white flesh.
Yellowish Flesh in Mangosteen is bad
The flesh should be an even white and plump. If you see yellowing, it is bad and should not be eaten.
Although it is difficult to discern a bad mangosteen from its outside, a rind that is tough to cut through tends to have more of these yellow bad flesh. A mangosteen can go bad when it is too old. The site superfruitinfo.org has some pictures of what a bad mangosteen looks like.
While you can eat the small seeds that are intricately attached to the flesh, spit out any large seeds.
Exotic Tropical Fruit Mangosteen
Mangosteen is a tropical fruit from a tropical tree near equatorial region of the Pacific such as in Southeast Asian countries such as Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Burma, and others. The mangosteen tree can only thrive in temperatures above 40 degrees Fahrenheit, and hence is confined to tropical regions.
That is why if you are in a geographical region (such as North America or Europe) in which the fruit is not native, you may not have ever heard of them.
In the United States, mangosteen are considered rare and exotic. In fact, my spell checker doesn't even know about them and is keep underlining the word as being misspelled.
This is because for some time, it was illegal to import mangosteens into the United States for fear of fruit flies. But later a loophole was that it can be irradiated first before coming in. [reference]
On occasional, you can find mangosteen in isolated Asian supermarkets -- more likely in the summer. But when you do, the price can be on the high side. A reporter once wrote on BrooklynPaper.com that he found some in Brooklyn New York and paid about $11 each for them.
To get mangosteen at a more reasonable price, you can travel to Southeast Asia where the fruits are more abundant. The Atlantic says that the fruit is worth a trip to Thailand. Many places of the web says the mangosteen is one of the most praised of tropical fruits.
Are there truth to Mangosteen's Health Claims?
Be wary of the many websites that promote mangosteen juice and mangosteen derived products claiming all sorts of health benefits. Do not believe all the claims that are made. Mangosteen juice does not cure cancer. Some claims may be exaggerated.
Wikipedia writes ...
"When analyzed specifically for its content of essential nutrients, however, mangosteen nutrition is modest"
Some claims the anti-oxidant or anti-inflammatory capabilities of xanthones in mangosteen. But xanthones is found primarily in the rind of the mangosteen and not in the sweet white fruit. The rind is very bitter and is not edible from a taste standpoint. If you make juice from the rind, it would taste bitter and astringent. Or else the juice maker would have to dilute it so much that there is virtually no rind in the juice. Or they mask the taste with lots of sugar and artificial favors. The outer rind is astringent because that is how the fruit ward off insects.
Another way companies make money is to put a tiny bit of mangosteen rind in its derived products and then start making health claims based on small preliminary laboratory tests found in compounds in the rind. The public is unaware that the amount of rind in the juice is so little, that it would have no health benefit what-so-ever.
In short, eat the fruit because it tastes good. But don't buy into the over-hyped claims of mangosteen-derived products.