What is a mangosteen? The mangosteen fruit, though well known in subtropical and tropical climates, is a comparative stranger to most other nations. Given its title, the mangosteen might be easily confused as a hybrid of the mango. Although the mangosteen and the cherry have the same household and grow in the same places, both of these fruits not just look different, they have a much different flavor.
A mangosteen fruit is roughly the same size as an orange, but with a profound purplish-colored skin. The outer rind of a mangosteen is extremely leathery, with scars, and functions to protect the delicious internal pulp. Found on each mangosteen fruit is a scar at one end, displaying remnants of the flower that once grew there. Interestingly, depending on the amount of flower segments still located in the scar, an individual can tell how many sections of fruit will be located inside.
The flavor of a mangosteen has been likened to that of no other fruit, thus the nickname “Queen of Fruits” or “Food of the Gods” on some Caribbean islands. While it’s hard to describe its flavor, lots of people compare it to a cross between berries and oranges, with just a touch of acidity. However, the feel of the wealthy inner pulp is similar to a ripe plum. Traditionally, the mangosteen is a fruit best experienced fresh and unprocessed. However, as it starts to gain popularity in countries all around the world, mangosteen are available frozen or canned, and is made into syrup, preserves, and, most popularly, juice.
The Origin of Mangosteen
While Chinese and ayurvedic practitioners have known of the high nutritional and medicinal value of the mangosteen for centuries, it was first”discovered” by the French explorer Laurentiers Garcin in the 1700s. It’s from him that the scientific name for mangosteen, Garcinia mangostana, comes.
The mangosteen tree doesn’t grow well as a”wild plant,” and fares best if it’s cultivated in the ideal climate. Most of the plants are located in Thailand, a nation so enamoured of the mangosteen, it embraced it as its fruit.
Although efforts are made to grow orchards, due to their finicky growth patterns and unpredictable harvest times, mangosteen trees are mostly found along the banks of lakes or rivers, as the tree roots need almost constant moisture.
Due to governmental regulations, import of the new mangosteen fruit to the USA is illegal. Fears of introducing the catastrophic Asian fruit fly in the country have largely kept the fruits themselves from crossing the boundaries, although sometimes one may discover a mangosteen fruit on the shelves of a tiny Asian grocery store. And since mangosteen trees only grow in certain climates, efforts to cultivate the fruit inside the nation have yet to “fruitfully” succeed.
Making it also difficult to mass-produce mangosteen, a tree requires several years after planting to start producing fruit. From the time of planting a mangosteen seed, the growing tree will take ten years or longer to begin producing fruit. Uncharacteristically for a tropical fruit tree, the mangosteen tree is only going to grow to approximately 10 to 20 feet in height. Once it evolves to full expansion, one typical tree will create approximately 500 mangosteen fruits per harvest. However, the more a mangosteen tree stands, the greater the yield. There have been reports of 30-year-old mangosteen trees making up to 2000 fruits in 1 season.
As stated, the import of mangosteen to america is currently illegal because of health regulations. However, new mangosteen can be found in countries like Thailand, the Philippines, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, Cuba, sparingly in Puerto Rico, and scattered around the West Indies.
Care must be taken when eating a fresh mangosteen. The outer rind is quite hard and leathery, and the profound purple-red juice of the rind stains almost anything it comes into contact with. Traditionally, the casing of the mangosteen ought to be broken by hand, not cut with a knife. As the rind begins to crack, the yummy inner fruit sections might be peeled away. To appreciate mangosteen to its fullest, an individual needs to avoid the tough, leathery outer shell by yanking the sections out before eating, as the sap out of the shell is very bitter and disagreeable.
It could be possible to find canned mangosteennonetheless, it’s widely known through the process of canning, much is missing concerning the fruit’s taste. In the Philippines, a lot of those who try to maintain the fruit will boil them in a heavy brown sugar syrup.
Other Uses of Mangosteen
While the rind of mangosteen is occasionally used in tanning leather, and the twigs from the trees are preferred”chewsticks” for those in Ghana, the most common choice use of mangosteen is medicinal and nutritional.
From Singapore to China, different facets of the fruit are utilized to deal with and heal a huge array of medical afflictions. From dysentery to eczema, it seems that scientifically the mangosteen has a large number of beneficial uses.
It’s thought that much of the reason mangosteen is such a potent curative is due to its high degree of xanthones, which are biologically active plant phenols which are somewhat like flavonoids. While most fruits contain xanthones, the mangosteen seems to encircle at least 40 of the currently found 200 kinds of xanthones, which makes it incredibly rich in its nutrient properties. Indeed, it’s somewhat of a “miracle fruit,” because it’s the only fruit as yet known to science to include such a high proportion of xanthones.