Mangosteen (มังคุด)

(Garcinia mangostana)

Mangosteen is one of the tastiest fruits of Thailand. It is called “queen of fruits”, probably due to its notable “crown” over each mangosteen. Thailand is world’s #1 exporter of these fruit.

Taste of mangosteen

The taste of mangosteen is bright and perfectly balanced – sweet with a pinch of sour. Its flesh is tender, soft and juicy as the flesh of a ripe peach. I can state that it’s impossible to describe this flavor – mangosteen is mangosteen. One can imagine some strawberry, wild strawberry and pineapple, but it won’t give you the full portrait of what I’m talking about. You just need to try it. Mangosteen is one of my favorite fruits.

All stages of mangosteens ripening
All stages of mangosteen’s ripening, ripe is the dark purple one

How to choose, transport & store

Choosing mangosteen, remember to slightly press its sides. The rind of mangosteen is hard, but it shouldn’t be stone hard. Stone hard mangosteens are very difficult to open (it means that they are a bit unripe or stored too long).

If you see bright yellow drops on a fruit, don’t take it. Most of these fruit were damaged by ants. You can check it looking under sepals, but sometimes it’s not that obvious. Anyway, spoiled by ants flesh (with rusty or yellow edges) remains edible.

I prefer to choose big fruit, because 1 effort brings more flesh. Usually mangosteens are 4-9 cm in diameter.

Due to hard rind you can easily transport mangosteens. Remember to check if there are any ants on fruit (under sepals) in advance, if you don’t wish to bring them home with you. Mangosteens can be stored in a fridge for 1-2 weeks. It’s better not to store them for longer period, because they are sold ripe in Thailand.

Yellow drops on fruit
See yellow drops at the left side of mangosteen

How to eat mangosteens

Take mangosteen and press its sides with fingers so that the rind cracks. Release tender white flesh, which reminds a garlic – this is the only edible part of mangosteen. Seeds that can be found in bigger cloves of this “garlic” are inedible.

Be careful while peeling mangosteen – purple juice of its rind can easily stain cloth.

One should avoid cutting mangosteen through. Its rind contains tannins and if one puts the juice of rind into flesh with the blade, one spoils the taste of mangosteen. The only way to open mangosteen with a knife is to make a circle cut trying to keep the blade away from white flesh, then twist halves of the fruit in order to open.

These fruit are not allowed in many hotels, because tender odour of mangosteen juice attracts all ants from the neighbourhood. So if you have eaten mangosteens in your room, clean the bin as soon as possible.

Toothpaste with mangosteen rind
Exocarp (=rind) of mangosteen is used in tooth paste production as strengthening gums agent. This tooth paste has unusual dark brown colour

When and where to buy

The season for mangosteens is the summer. They are sold everywhere. You will find mangosteen in winter too, but it will be sold at higher price. Also the size and quality of fruit affects the price. In the summer mangosteens cost 25 THB/kg and up, low season – 120 THB/kg and up.

Mangosteen tree
Mangosteen tree

Mangosteen tree close up

The first picture is from Wikipedia, the author is مانفی


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