Nature’s Parent – The Tree
Mangosteen is a tropical evergreen tree believed to have originated in Indonesia. Today mangosteen is grown in a number of South East Asian countries including Thailand where the crop has particularly strong recognition for quality of produce. It is also grown in tropical South America to a lesser degree. The tree grows from 7m to 25m and it is eight years before a new tree will bare fruit of any value or substance. Farming of these trees is not wide scale.
Nature’s Child – The Fruit
Queen Victoria labelled mangosteen as “The Queen of all Fruits”. Perhaps today we might label it the “The Champagne of Fruits.” The white inner fruit flesh is notably hard to extract. It is sweet and tangy, juicy, and somewhat fibrous. The deep purple coloured rind and inner pericarp is most commonly discarded for its very bitter taste. The bitter tannins of the fruit exocarp serve to protect the fruit from insect infestation, fungi, bacteria and animals while the fruit is immature. Colour changes as the fruit ripens from green to purple and softening of the exocarp are natural processes of ripening.
A Sensory “Treasure”
The mangosteen pH value is quite low. On its own this would make for an intensely sour fruit were it not for the offsetting effect of the natural sugar content. This is at the heart of the popularity of the mangosteen and explains why the fresh fruit is so intense in flavour.
Basic Nutritional Facts
Like most fruits, mangosteen is rich in the usual vitamins – notably Vitamin C, B1, B2, B6, and the minerals potassium, iron, and calcium. These are essential nutrients and there are many scientific studies supporting their importance in our diet… but mangosteen offers a lot more in an abundance of phytonutrients ie. plant nutrients.