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Foodstuff: Mangosteen

Mangosteen 1

This curious object, which looks for all the world like a little wooden apple, is yet another of those obscure culinary items that occasionally turn up in our local Co-op from time to time. They were identified as ‘Sharron Fruit’ on a hand lettered sign (a name which meant nothing to me), but each of the little fruit had a tiny sticky label on them bearing the name ‘Mangosteen’ (which was at least familiar). The appellation ‘Sharron Fruit’, it turned out, was actually the name of the Company from which the fruit had been purchased so it was obvious that the store employee stocking the shelves was not too familiar with the item either. In any event, whatever the name, I had never seen these before and naturally had to investigate…

Mangosteens (in this case, actually more properly known as ‘Purple Mangosteen’, in full), are native to Indonesia but are also grown in South America and, to a lesser extent in Florida. They are not very widely produced, however, and tend to be quite expensive outside their production areas. I paid $1.99 for the single one I purchased.

Mangosteen 2

Having no idea what to do with the fruit, I simply sliced it open with a sharp knife. This was not easy as the thick outer covering is extremely woody and very tough, being more of a shell, rather than a rind. I probably should have researched first as I later read that the correct way to open the fruit is to score deeply all around the middle and then twist the halves apart. I don’t imagine, however, that this is a very easy process either.

Mangosteen 3

Once the soft center is popped out, you can see that it has a similarity to a head of garlic, being formed into similar ‘cloves’.

Mangosteen 4

In close-up, one can clearly see that the flesh is very soft and that each ‘clove’ contains a tiny little pit about the size of a grape seed. There wasn’t much of an aroma, really, but the taste was very pleasant being somewhat like a cross between a raisin and a slightly fermented grape with woody overtones. The texture was also very grape-like, being a little more fibrous in some places, while softer and more jelly-like in others.

Anyway, I like the taste and I am glad I tried it but there was barely a mouthful inside the thick covering so I can’t really say they are really worth the price. Interesting experience, though…



12 Comments Post a comment
  1. This was so interesting to me because Mangosteen “juice” is sold here in the U.S. at exorbitant prices, but touted as almost a miracle drink. I did buy it once, and it was quite good. I didn’t know what the actual fruit was, or even where it came from originally. Very unique!

    May 13, 2013
    • I haven’t seen them on our store shelves since hat first time, but I am sure they’ll show up again sometime.

      May 13, 2013
  2. Do more of these investigations! Thanks for the fun read and visuals.

    May 13, 2013
    • My pleasure … these types of posts are amongst the most fun to do 🙂

      May 13, 2013
  3. Before I read your reference to looking like cloves of garlic my immediate thought was they look like testicles.

    May 13, 2013
    • They certainly do… especially in the cut sections with those filament like structures!

      May 13, 2013
  4. I looooove mangosteens!! In Singapore they call them the ‘queen of fruits’ and they are eaten together with Durian, but I can honestly just get a whole bunch of them and just eat them all day long. And it’s really easy to open them with your hands, probably much more so than with a knife. 🙂 Well, if they are ripe and good that is. I was lucky to be introduced to them when in Singapore on my first visit there, and ever since I get them whenever I am in SE Asia. In just over one month, I’ll once again be there to stuff myself… can’t wait!!!

    May 13, 2013
    • My wife has tried Durian… I haven’t yet. I do, however, have a small bottle of extract… my, isn’t it smelly!!

      May 13, 2013
  5. i love mangosteens.. it should be opened by both hands and very easy even if the covering looks hard or tough but not.. the fruit is fluffy and so white and tastes so good.. but i must admit it’s really very expensive in your place.

    May 13, 2013
  6. Very interesting post. I thoroughly enjoy it when you introduce and describe foods that are unknown to me. Thanks so much.

    May 13, 2013
  7. I love mangosteens! When they are in season, we can usually get them in Chinatown for a decent price. Otherwise, I like the freeze-dried ones . . . which kind of remind me os astronaut ice cream Remember that?

    May 13, 2013
  8. This fruit is available in abundance in my homeland Bangladesh !

    I adore your way of describing stuff 🙂

    May 14, 2013

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