The Basics

Spotlight On: The Mangosteen

A couple months ago, I ventured out to 99 Ranch Market and saw some fresh mangosteens parked in the middle of the fruit section. Although I was curious about how they tasted, I was put off by the price ($8.99/pound) and the fact that they looked pretty tired in comparison to the surrounding array of fruit. Not knowing what an awesome find that was, I ended up buying some canned mangosteens instead.

After doing some further investigation when I got home, I learned that the mangosteen was long considered illegal for US import due to regulation of irradiation of the fruit. Still rare here, in 2007, mangosteens were approved for import from Thailand in the midst of a craze about the supposed health benefits from the fruit. The craze wasn't new. Supposedly, during her reign Queen Victoria attempted to have the fruit imported to England, even offering knighthood to whoever could pull it off. However, no one was successful. Since then, it has been called the "queen of fruits."

Kicking myself for not buying a fresh mangosteens, I grabbed a can opener and plopped the contents into a large soup bowl. The fruit was a lot smaller than the fresh version in the store and, of course, peeled. It was mushy, and tasted like the lovechild of a canned pear and a canned mandarin orange. Also, it was peppered with pesky flat lima bean-size seeds.

My canned mangosteen was pretty tasty for canned fruit, but it was still sugary canned fruit (kicks self again). I'm not sure if I believe most of the hype surrounding the mangosteen, but it was still nice to try. Give it a shot.

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Becky Means