Yes. Some context first.

The mangosteen (not "mangostein") is the fruit of an evergreen tree native to Malaysia and Indonesia, and is often available in Western Asian markets when in season. A ripe mangosteen is about the same size as a mandarin orange, with a reddish-purple rind.

An interesting fact about this fruit is that there is always a type of scar at one end. This is a remnant of the flower, and the number of remnant flower parts contained in the scar will tell you precisely how many segments of fruit are inside. Besides containing more fruit, those with the most segments will have fewer seeds.

The fruit itself is sweet, with a texture somewhat like a ripe plum. The flavor is sweet with a hint of acidity.

When purchasing mangosteen fruit, look for ones that are dark purple or reddish purple but not blue-black in color. At home, store mangosteens at room temperature and eat within a few days. Also, it's important to remember that unlike mangos, mangosteens should't be frozen.

Mmm-mangosteen! Many call it the Queen of Fruit, including Queen Victoria, and once you taste one you'll realize why.

Why They're Not Your Favorite Fruit, Yet

I think the only reason the mangosteen has yet to take the world by storm is that it's a terribly inefficient fruit: it may be the size of a mandarin orange, but the actual edible portion is rarely larger than a chestnut, and (even here in Singapore) each one of these armor-clad chestnuts can cost you up to a Sing dollar. A ripe mangosteen at room temperature lasts only for a few days, and refrigeration or freezing quickly causes damage; the only way to store one for a longer time is at 10°C, which will keep it in good shape for several weeks. And finally, when unopened they're not terribly attractive: given their hard surface and mottled red-purple-black exterior, you might be excused for thinking you've stumbled on a pile of dirty beetroots instead. But don't let this discourage you!

Obtaining a Mangosteen

They're in season from April to September in South-East Asia, and are occasionally spotted in the "obscure and overpriced tropical fruits" shelf of your local hypermarket elsewhere as well. But they're worth the effort to seek out, just so you'll know what to look for if you ever do end up in its endemic region.

Opening a Mangosteen

If you have a knife, make a shallow cut (less than a centimeter) around the fruit, starting and ending at the stem, and then twist with your hands. One half will pop off and the inner white flesh will be revealed.

If you want to impress people with your l337 mangosteen sk33lz, here's how to open one with your bare hands. Put the fruit on a flat surface, stem upwards. Interlock your fingers and squeeze the fruit with the bases of your palms. The rind will tear and pop open, and now you can twist/peel the rest off easily without damaging the flesh. Not such a pretty method, but very functional.

And finally, be careful when opening: the rind is usually dry, but if those few drops of its beetroot-like juice touch anything, they will permanently stain it purple.

Eating a Mangosteen

The part you want to eat is the inner white flesh, consisting of 4-8 segments that look quite a bit like a bulb of garlic. The red rind is terribly bitter, so be sure no flecks remain. Larger segments may contain seeds, which are inedible unless boiled or roasted (and not worth the effort), so just spit them out.

The taste of the mangosteen is unique and addictive, which also makes it difficult to describe. Perhaps something along the lines of a cross between a mango and a peach: it's like the utterly delicious first bite of a ripe mango, but counteracted with a tart acidity that stops the sweetness from becoming overwhelming. The taste also depends on the ripeness of the fruit, with younger ones more acidic and older ones sweeter.

The Chinese think that mangosteen are a cooling fruit, and thus the perfect antidote to heaty fruits like the mangosteen's hubby durian, the King of Fruits. Due to the labor involved in extracting the edible bits, mangosteen are not particularly amenable to further processing; just serve them as is for breakfast, snack or dessert.


Personal experience

Man"go*steen (?), Man"go*stan (?), n. [Malay mangusta, mangis.] Bot.

A tree of the East Indies of the genus Garcinia (G. Mangostana). The tree grows to the height of eighteen feet, and bears fruit also called mangosteen, of the size of a small apple, the pulp of which is very delicious food.

© Webster 1913.

Log in or registerto write something here or to contact authors.