Mangosteens are a tropical fruit native to Thailand and Southeast Asia. They are similar in size to a tangerine or plum with thick leathery skin or shell that is a deep purple-red color. On the top of the fruit is a green cap with four to eight lobes arranged in a rosette. The soft, juicy flesh inside the mangosteen is snow white and is separated into four to eight segments similar to the sections inside citrus fruits (the number of segments inside correlates to the amount of lobes on the outside). The fruit is either seedless or contains just a few flat inedible seeds. Mangosteens have a sweet-tart tropical flavor with notes of lychee, peach, strawberry, pineapple, and caramel or butter. The fruit can be peeled and eaten just like an orange. Mangosteens are rich in antioxidants and other micronutrients that lower inflammation; the plant is often used in alternative medicine for its healing properties.
Ripening and Storage:
Mangosteens are tree-ripened so they are ripe and ready to eat when they arrive and won't ripen further. A ripe mangosteen will yield slightly to the touch and will be easy to peel. They should be eaten quickly once you receive them. They can be stored at room temperature for a day or two. If not you're not eating them right away, put in the fridge to preserve for a few extra days.
Mangosteens can be peeled and eaten like an orange. To peel, use a sharp knife to cut all around the circumference of the shell, just enough to create an opening for your fingers to get in, but without cutting through the flesh inside, then twist and pry off the shell. Once the flesh is revealed you can simply use your fingers to pull the sections apart from one another. Be careful when opening because the shell contains a purple juice that can stain.
Mangosteens are most often eaten fresh. They can be used for sweet applications like baked goods, beverages, desserts, jams, sorbet or ice cream, and they can also be used in savory dishes such as curry. They can also be juiced.