Monday, September 24, 2012

Mystery Fruit #4: Mangosteen

There I am, hot and sweaty after a morning of literally swinging through the trees in the Thailand jungle. As we wait at a shack for the rest of our group to finish, a man tips his head to a sack lying by the door and says, "Mangosteens. Have some. Just picked from over there," waving with his hand towards some indeterminate spot among the trees.

Ahhh, mangosteens. My water bottle is empty, and the water dispenser at the shack has run dry. It looks like this fruit is my best chance at slaking my thirst. No one else takes him up on the offer. Woohoo! More for me!

Mystery Fruit #4 - Voted "Prettiest Fruit Bottom" (by me)

Mangosteens are small like a billiard ball and have a hard, outer rind like a pomegranate. As I pry open the deep brownish-purplish shell with my bare hands, my fingertips turn dark. A woodcarver I meet later in the trip tells me he uses crushed mangosteen rinds to stain his artwork.

But the segmented fruit inside is a snow-white color. I pull off a piece that looks somewhat like an albino tangerine section and pop it into my mouth. It's exceptionally sweet and just juicy enough to provide some relief to my parched mouth. Dark seeds bigger than an orange seed are inside some of the segments, but it's not enough to be bothersome.

Mangosteen - Sweet and juicy superfruit

Here, it is nicknamed "The Queen of Fruits, and is in no way related to mangoes. Supposedly, mangosteens have remarkable anti-microbial, anti-aging, anti-radical, anti-parasitic and cancer-fighting properties. Folk medicine uses it to treat tuberculosis, malaria, dysentery, UTIs, and eczema. Well, I just needed it to prevent dehydration for a couple hours.  When I visited America, I saw its juice at a specialty grocery store being promoted as a Superfruit, but in Penang, it's in the refrigerated case right next to standards like orange juice and apple juice.

Just another juice

Mangosteens are also very decorative. My friend had a bowl full of them out one day, and I noticed how striking they are massed together. Perhaps Pottery Barn needs to start selling replicas.

Have you ever tried mangosteen?

Related Posts:
Mystery Fruit #1: Ciku
Mystery Fruit #2: Elixir of Immortality
Mystery Fruit #3: Passion Fruit
Mystery Fruit #5: Dragonfruit


  1. Hi. Were you shown how to open the mangosteen easily? Lock the fingers of both hands together with the mangosteen in between and gently crush until it cracks enough for you to open easily. If you squeeze to hard you risk staining your clothes. Tropical Expat.

    PS. I have already tried six times to publish this, as even though I am logged on to Google it wants me to input the characters - which usually I have to guess as they are too unclear to read.

  2. I've never tried them. But now that you mention anti-aging properties, i am going to see if I can find them in Singapore. Found you via Brave or Just Crazy's blog.

  3. One of my fave fruits. Do you know that the mangosteen is also the fruit that tells no lies?


I read each and every comment. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. Comment moderation is on, so your comment may not appear immediately.

Web Analytics