For many people who have tried them, mangosteens are one of the greatest fruits of the world. Certainly is one of my favourites. The fruit bears no relation to mangoes. Known as the Queen of fruits, the origin appears to be in Indonesia but are now found throughout tropical areas on the Asian continent.
Such is my passion for this marvelous fruit, when I travel to Asia, I will always ‘google’ or look up Lonely Planet to find out when they are in season. Last year on my trip to Sri Lanka, sadly mangosteens were not in season, as I hear that some of the best in the world come from a town not far from Colombo called Kalutara. The tropical fruit generally in Sri Lanka is fabulous and excellent quality, so I can imagine the mangosteens would be somethin’ else.
Whilst in the Philippines a couple of years ago, they were also out of season, but I scoured the fruit markets in hope and was lucky to find these, imported from Bangkok.
A few weeks ago on a trip to Bali, I struck luck, as mangosteens were in peak season. I was buying them for $1.50 a kilo. I’ve been known to buy just one here in Australia as a special treat for $4.50 EACH !!! So you can imagine how crazy I went in Bali.
There are some health benefit claims, largely made by a direct marketing company who sell the juice for a hefty price. However traditionally the fruit is known for its anti-inflammatory properties and it is said to assist with urinary tract infections and intestinal problems.
For me, it is about the taste. Sweet and slighty tangy, it is like a sorbet in the mouth. But I’m not going to describe the taste any further – as I think it is impossible to describe what fruits taste like – how do you describe the flavour of a passionfruit or a fig !?
If you are able to refrigerate them before eating, they make an even greater refreshing tonic to the tropical heat.
Here’s instructions on how to eat …
1. With your fingers, push to dislodge the green leaves at the top.
2. Hold the fruit and use your thumbs at the top to press down. The skin/rind should split, revealing the white segments.
3. Using your fingers, remove the segments and savour. Some of the segments will contain a seed – suck the flesh from the seed and discard (don’t bite open the seed).
PS. The purple rind will stain, so be careful of your clothes and wash hands after eating.