Another entry into our Philippines Superfoods series is the mangosteen. This purple-powered fruit shares the Asian fruits royal crown with King Durian. Queen Mangosteen is exotic-looking but yummy beyond belief. It’s also highly nutritious.
All About Mangosteen
Mangosteen is a baseball-sized fruit available in the Philippines from about June to October. It has a thick purple rind and a green cap of leaves. The edible part of the mangosteen is white and sectioned like an orange. Each section (aril) can have one or multiple seeds that is about the size of an almond.
How Do You Eat It?
In spite of having a really thick rind, ripe mangosteen will break open in your hands if you squeeze them hard. Once they break, grab a broken edge and tear the fruit open. You can also score the rind with a knife and use a spoon to pry the peel apart if you want to try to avoid staining your fingers purple.
The white sections inside will come away from the inside of the peel with an easy tug. Many times the whole fruit section will pop right out, making it easy to break off a section at a time to eat.
Be careful, though, there is usually at least one big seed inside each section. Don’t just chomp down with your teeth. You have to work the section in your mouth to coax it away from the seed. Don’t eat the seed. It’s bitter and tastes nasty.
What Does It Taste Like?
Good question. Mangosteen has its own unique flavor. First, it doesn’t taste like a mango. It’s sweet but tangy, almost citrusy like a sweet orange. And even though it’s King Durian’s co-regent fruit, it tastes absolutely nothing like durian. Mangosteen is sweet and smells flowery.
What Makes Mangosteen A “Superfood”?
It’s s a pretty well-rounded fruit, nutritionally. One-hundred grams (about 3.5 ounces) of the fruit is just a little over 60 calories. That same 3.5 ounces will give you:
- 13% of your daily fiber requirement
- 12% of your daily requirement for Vitamin C
- 8% of your folate need
- It’s also a good source of the minerals copper, magnesium, and manganese
I can guarantee you, though, that you’ll eat more than 100 grams of mangosteen in one sitting. Their sweet, juicy flavor is addictive.
What Else Is Mangosteen Used For?
The rind contains tannins (what makes red wine “puckery”) that make it bitter and chemicals called “phytochemicals”. These chemicals are the hot new thing in health food but, as far as I know, no large-scale human studies have been done with the rind to gauge its safety or effectiveness when used as a medicine.
The mangosteen is another one of those foods that I call “Backyard Food“. mangosteen trees are common, even growing right in the backyard!
Thanks for reading all about the Queen of Fruits, the Philippines’ mangosteen! If you have any comments or questions, please drop me a note in the comments section below. I’d love to hear from you!Photo credits: Mangosteen at market: j.o.h.n. walker via Foter.com / CC BY, Mangosteen in hand: Nicolai Bangsgaard via Foter.com / CC BY, Mangosteen halved: goosmurf via Foter.com / CC BY Some nutrition facts were gathered from Nutition And You.com