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Scientific name: Garcinia prainiana
Family: Guttiferae
Growing the ‘button mangosteen’ (Garcinia prainiana) is an attractive alternative to growing its namesake, the true mangosteen (G. mangostana). Some of the writer’s button mangosteen plants have flowered in their pots when only two feet high. This suggests the possibility of this Thai/Malaysian tree fruiting years before a seedling mangosteen even flowers. Both the button mangosteen and the mangosteen are intolerant of low temperatures. However, when it gets cold, it is far easier to bring a 3-gallon potted button mangosteen inside than to cover up and protect a bearing size, 12 ft. to 15 ft. mangosteen growing outside.
Growing the button mangosteen in containers is a wonderful opportunity for the adventurous indoor or patio gardener.
The button mangosteen, also known as cherapu, is a small to mid-size tree indigenous to the Asiatic tropics, where it occurs in Thailand and Malaysia. Seeds of this Garcinia were received by the writer in 1980.
Three of the resulting seedlings, upon reaching a height of one metre, were planted out in the writer’s Bal Harbour grove, just north of Miami Beach.
It was soon discovered that this mangosteen relative required partial shade in its juvenile stage. To eliminate the adverse affects of full sunlight, an overhead 63% shade cloth top was erected, the sides remaining open. In 1988, the first fruit appeared, although some of the plants in three-gallon containers had flowered a few years earlier. At about the same time, Adolf Grimal, on Big Pine Key 20 miles north of Key West, reported one of his trees from the same seed batch to be in fruit.
The button mangosteen has similar foliage to the mangosteen, with attractive dark green, shiny leaves about 8 inches long by 4 inches wide, the undersides pale green with prominent veins. The base of each leaf appears to wrap around the branch, as if it had no petiole. Young twigs and branches are dark green turning to a brownish gray with increasing size and maturity. The trees are dioecious, requiring both a male and a female to bear. The beautiful rose-colored, camellia-like flowers of both sexes are about 1½ inches wide. Because both appear so much alike, it takes a close inspection to see which has the pollen and is the male. The bloom, which appears singly or in tight clusters, gives this Asiatic tree a highly ornamental appearance.
The attractive bright-orange fruit, standing out in sharp contrast to the deep-green foliage, appear from mid-summer into fall. Hand-pollinating was found to be followed nearly always by successful fruit set. The name ‘button mangosteen’ would seem to originate from the fruit’s flattened, button-like appearance, and of course, its similarity to its famous relative. The soft, orange-colored flesh contains two or more seeds. In describing this Asian delicacy, Betty Molesworth Allen, in her book Malayan Fruits, wrote “The fruits are delicious, with an unusual flavor as well as being excellent thirst quenchers”. This writer found the button mangosteen’s fruit to be sweet with a tinge of tartness that should appeal to most people’s palate.
Source: Whitman, William F.. “The Mangosteen Alternative.” rfcarchives.org.au.
Archives of the Rare Fruit Council of Australia. Extract from Tropical Fruit World. Vol.1. Mar. 1990.

What Is Mangosteen: How To Grow Mangosteen Fruit Trees

There are many truly fascinating trees and plants that many of us have never heard of since they only thrive in certain latitudes. One such tree is called the mangosteen. What is a mangosteen and is it possible to propagate a mangosteen tree?

What is Mangosteen?

A mangosteen (Garcinia mangostana) is a truly tropical fruiting tree. It is unknown where mangosteen fruit trees originate, but some conjecture the genesis to be from the Sunda Islands and the Moluccas. Wild trees can be found in Kemaman, Malaya forests. The tree is cultivated in Thailand, Vietnam, Burma, the Philippines and southwestern India. Attempts have been made to cultivate it in the U.S. (in California, Hawaii and Florida), Honduras, Australia, tropical Africa, Jamaica, the West Indies and Puerto Rico with extremely limited results.

The mangosteen tree is slow growing, upright in habitat, with a pyramid shaped crown. The tree grows to between 20-82 feet in height with nearly black, flaky outer bark and a gummy, extremely bitter latex contained inside the bark. This evergreen tree has short stalked, dark green leaves that are oblong and glossy atop and yellow-green and dull on the underside. New leaves are rosy red and oblong.

Blooms are 1 ½ -2 inches wide, and may be male or hermaphrodite on the same tree. Male flowers are borne in clusters of three to nine at the branch tips; fleshy, green with red spots on the outsides and yellowish red on the interior. They have many stamens, but the anthers bear no pollen. Hermaphrodite blooms are found at the tip of branchlets and are yellowish green bordered with red and are short lived.

The resulting fruit is round, dark purple to reddish purple, smooth and about 1 1/3 to 3 inches in diameter. The fruit has a notable rosette at the apex composed of four to eight triangle shaped, flat remnants of the stigma. The flesh is snow white, juicy and soft, and may or may not contain seeds. The mangosteen fruit is acclaimed for its luscious, delectable, slightly acidic flavor. In fact, the fruit of the mangosteen is often referred to as the “queen of tropical fruit.”

How to Grow Mangosteen Fruit Trees

The answer to “how to grow mangosteen fruit trees” is that you probably can’t. As previously mentioned, many efforts to propagate the tree have been attempted all around the globe with little luck. This tropic loving tree is a bit finicky. It does not tolerate temps below 40 degrees F. (4 C.) or above 100 degrees F. (37 C.). Even nursery seedlings are killed off at 45 degrees F. (7 C.).

Mangosteens are picky about elevation, humidity and require annual rainfall of at least 50 inches with no drought. Trees thrive in deep, rich organic soil but will survive in sandy loam or clay containing course material. While standing water will kill off seedlings, adult mangosteens can survive, and even thrive, in regions where their roots are covered with water most of the year. However, they must be sheltered from strong winds and salt spray. Basically, there must be the perfect storm of components when growing mangosteen fruit trees.

Propagation is done through seed, although experiments with grafting have been attempted. Seeds are really not true seeds but hypocotyls tubercles, as there has been no sexual fertilization. Seeds need to be used five days from removal from fruit for propagating and will sprout within 20-22 days. The resulting seedling is difficult, if not impossible, to transplant due to a long, delicate taproot so should be started in an area where it will stay for at least a couple of years before attempting a transplant. The tree may fruit in seven to nine years but more commonly at 10-20 years of age.

Mangosteens should be spaced 35-40 feet apart and planted in 4 x 4 x 4 ½ pits that are enriched with organic matter 30 days prior to planting. The tree needs a well irrigated site; however, dry weather just before bloom time will induce a better fruit set. Trees should be planted in partial shade and fed regularly.

Because of the bitter latex exuded from the bark, mangosteens suffer rarely from pests and are not often plagued by diseases.

How to Grow Mangosteen Trees

80 Shares

Mangosteen is often known as the queen of tropical trees because it produces some of the most delicious and sweet fruit in the world. Learning how to grow mangosteen fruit is actually pretty easy as long as you have the right climate – tropical or subtropical is needed. The mangosteen fruit is native to southeast Asian countries such as Vietnam, Indonesia, Burma, and the Philippines.

How to Grow Mangosteen

Climate:

The mangosteen tree needs warm weather – tropical or subtropical climate is needed.

Planting Mangosteen:

  • Prepare your soil with a soil mix of either sand loam or clay base, topsoil, and compost. Plan to plant your mangosteen tree in a shady area.
  • Allow the soil to naturally weather before you plant.
  • Purchase mangosteen seeds from your local nursery or online. Before planting, wrap the seeds in pre-moistened paper towels with cold water.
  • Place the wrapped seeds in a container or a bag in the refrigerator.
  • Once you’re ready to plant, remove the seeds from the refrigerator and soak them in water for at least 24 hours.
  • After they’ve been soaked, place them in the soil mix in a small pot. Make sure the pot has good drainage holes.
  • Place the seed in the soil (about 1 inch deep), and cover with some soil.
  • Water the soil so that it is saturated and place the pot in an area that will receive at least 12 hours of sunlight a day.
  • Before transplanting outdoors or to a bigger pot, wait at least 30 days for the seeds to fertilize.
  • If growing multiple trees, place them at least 35-40 feet apart.
  • Keep in partial shade, and water regularly.

Caring for Mangosteen Trees:

  • Apply a fertilizer every 3 months. Use 0.5 pounds in the first year, 1 pound during years 2-4, and 2 pounds for 5 years and above.
  • Water regularly.

Harvesting Mangosteen Fruit:

  • The mangosteen tree will start bearing fruit anywhere from 5 to 9 years.
  • You’ll know the fruit is ripe when when it is a round shape and has 4-8 triangle rosettes on top.
  • The fruit will be dark purple on the outside and white and soft on the inside.

So now that you know how to grow mangosteen, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get to planting!

Happy Planting!

80 SharesMangosteen (Garcinia mangostana Linn of the family Gutiiferae) is one of the most delicious and best flavored fruits in the world. It is one tropical fruit that is most ready accepted by the Western. It is a seasonal fruit that has a great export market.

The editable portion of the mangosteen fruit is 1/3 of the whole fruit. The aril is about 25-30% of the fruit and contains 19.8% soluble solids, 4.3% reducing sugar, and 17.5% to total sugar. Analysis of the rind indicates that it is rich in pectin.

Uses and Food Value

Its composition taken from the 1990 edition of the Food Composition Table prepared by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute is as follows.

The pulp, which is very light and soft and has an exquisite flavor, is best eaten fresh, preferably after chilling the fruit. The pulp and seed, when boiled with sugar, make an excellent preserve or topping for ice cream or sherbet. The seeds have a delicious nutty flavor.

The leaves and bark, claimed to be medecinal, are used as astringent to cure aphtha or thrush. They are also used as a febrifuge or antipyretic while the pericarp is regarded as very effective in curing chronic intestinal catarrh.

The pericarp contains 7-15% tannin and it is used for dyeing. A decoction of the root may be taken to achieve regular menstruation. Leaf infusion is applied to wounds and a decoction of the pericarp may be administered to cure dysentery or simply used as alotion. Dried rind is used as an astringent. The seed contains about 30% of valuable oil.

SOIL AND CLIMATIC REQUIREMENTS

Mangosteen thrives best in warm, humid environment. Ideal temperature is 20°C-30°C. A temperature of less than 20°C slows down growth. Ideally, rainfall should be well distributed throughout the year, but trees are known to grow successfully even under dry conditions with irrigation. The soil should be rich, porous, deep and wet but well drained. Heavy clay with a generous admixture of sand and silt, and a water table of about two meters are best. It also grows well up to an elevation of zero to 500 meters. The tree also thrives well along river banks, canals, ponds and lakes. It grows best in areas with a well distributed rainfall.

CULTURE AND MANAGEMENT

A. Land Preparation

Before planting, condition the land and make it fit for the reception of the trees. In clearing, all tree stumps should be removed along with as many roots as possible. If a mangosteen orchard is to be established, land preparation follows the system for other fruit crops. This consists of deep plowing once and twice, followed by several harrowings, until the desired soil tilth is attained. Stakes are set at a distance of 8-10m corresponding to the recommended distance of planting for mangosteen. Holes are then dug at the positions occupied by the stakes where mangosteen seedlings are set and covered with soil.

B. Sowing the seeds and care of the seedlings

Seeds are sown inseed boxes, seed flats or pots, bamboo tubes or plastic bags, under a cover. In a week or two, the seeds sprout and the seedlings are to be kept in a nursery under partial shade and watered 3 to 4 times a week. Usually, the seedlings take about two years to become large enough for transplanting to a permanent field. At this stage, the plants are about 30 cm tall.

C. Planting and Spacing

Mangosteen seedlings are ready to be transplanted to the field when they are two years old, at which age, they are about 25-30 cm tall. The seedlings are to be carefully removed from the containers and set in the holes to avoid disturbing the root system. The most suitable period to transplant is just after the rainy season has set in. Planting in an area where there are light shimmers is very helpful in ensuring satisfactory establishment of the young plants.

On level land, the trees are planted using the square system:spacing of at least 8m x 8m between rows and between trees in a row. some 156 seedlings to a hectare are needed. The size of the holes should be 0.6m x 0.6m x 0.6m and filed with farm manure. Plants are then set out at the center of the hole. Gradually fill-in the hole with loose top soil. Gently press the soil until it firmly grips the plant.

D. Weeding and Cultivation

Ring-weeding at one meter radius and loosening the earth are practiced to preserve the fertility of the soil, as well as to allow the development of the plants. Areas between rows are plowed for better weed control and cultivation.

IRRIGATION

Artificial irrigation is practiced during dry months. Water the plants as soon as they are transplanted and sustain during the times when precipitation is not adequate in order to keep the soil moisture at a high level.

In the seedling stage, however, standing water over the roots can kill the plant outright.

FERTILIZATION

Mangosteen trees respond well to manuring. Diluted organic fertilizer which can be absorbed slowly is desirable. Also, application of a nitrogenous fertilizer can accelerate vegetative growth of the plants.

Fertilizer application varies with the age of the plant. Since ammonium sulfate is applied at planting time, succeeding application should follow a circular outline following the tree’s canopy. Dig 4 to 6 holes following the circular plan on the ground. Put the fertilizer into the holes, cover to prevent volatillization, and to reduce run-off in case of heavy rains.

At planting time, apply 200-250 grams complete fertilizer per tree three inches below the roots and five inches at the side of the seeding. For young trees, mix and apply in two equal dosages 300-500 grams 14-14-14 or 12-24-12 and broadcast or apply, by digging a shallow furrow around each tree, 200-300 grams urea (45-0-0). Apply the first dosage at the start of the rainy season and the second dosage at the end of the rainy season.

Gradually increase the amount of fertilizer every year as the trees grow bigger and as fruit production increases.

INTERCROPPING AND COVER CROPPING

Planting intercrops and cover crops in the mangosteen orchard is more or less confined to the early years because, as the trees develop in size and status, not much unshaded space is left in between rows for their proper growth.

Mangosteen, in Sulu Archipelago, is usually planted with intercrops or peanut and other leguminous field crops, or with companion plants like abaca and banana, or marang and lansones trees. other crops that may be intercroped also are “dapdap” or durian trees which can serve as partial shades.

PEST AND DISEASES

Mangosteen is subject to several pests, the most common of which are mites, aphids, fructifier ants and mealy bugs. Others, such as tussock caterpillars feed on the leaves while coconut scales form colonies underneath the leaves which causes leaf yellowing in patches thus impairing plant growth.

Occasionally, sooty molds are found covering the leaves. Diseases due to anthracnose and bacterial leaf sheath have also been reported. As a preventive measure, the plants may be sprayed two four time a year with common fungicides at dosages recommended. Read the label before application.

HARVESTING, CURING AND STORING

Mangosteen usually flowers in 10 to 15 years but if given proper care, asexually propagated trees bear fruit in eight to nine years. It takes about five to six months from flowering stage to fruit ripening.

Harvesting is normally done from the month of August to October. The fruit is mature when its color changes from greenish brown to reddish purple and when it is rather soft to the touch.

Great care must be practiced when harvesting fruits. Be sure that the fruits are mature at harvest time, otherwise, they may fail to develop an excellent flavor.

Handle the fruits with great care while harvesting. Handpicking is a good method since the pericarp, which is still slightly soft at harvest is easily subjected to injury when the fruits falls. As an alternative method use a long pole with a hook at the tip and a catching basket attached at the end where the fruits will be collected.

The method of harvesting employed in Sulu is hand picking the fruit with its preduncle intact. Fruits are then bound together in elongated clusters of 15 pieces.

MEDICINAL USE

DIARRHEA – Boil the required amount of seeds in two glasses of water for 15 minutes, or until only 1/2 of the liquid is left. Cool and strain. Divide the decoction into four plants. drink one part every 2 to 3 hours. Packed in sterilized bottles.

Adult – 4 tsp
7-12 yrs. old – 2 tsp
2-6 yrs. old – 1 tsp
For children 7-12 years, use half of the adult dose.

PROCESSING POSSIBILITIES

MANGOSTEEN PRESERVE

Ingredients:
200 pieces mangosteen
1 kilo sugar

Procedure:
1. Remove the pericarp. Apply pressure with the thumb to remove the seeds.
2. Add 1 kilo white sugar to the fruits.
3. Boil for 35 to 50 minutes with constant stirring until the concoction turns light brown.
Packed in sterilized bottles.

1. Alakbar, P. 1971, Culture of Mangosteen, Special Report on the Culture of Mangosteen Based on the Practice employed in the Province of Sulu BPI, Sulu.
2. Guide in Mangosteen Growing, 1985 Bureau of Plant Industry, Manila.
3. Preservation of Fruits and Vegetables 1988 Revised edition, Laboratory Service Division, BPI, Manila

Source: da.gov.ph

Garcinia mangostana

Origin:

Native to south east Asia and since distributed to other countries in the tropics. It is thought to have arisen as a polyploid hybrid between 2 other Garcinia species.

Adapted to humid tropical lowlands up to 1000m with temperatures of 27-36°C. Below temperatures of 20°C growth slows and 3-5°C will kill trees.

Plant Description:

The evergreen dioecious trees are 5-20m tall and have a pyramidal crown. The opposite coriaceous glabrous olive-green leaves are oblong-elliptical, 15-25 X 7-13cm, The root system is poorly developed and also has very few root hairs.

Relatives:

Clusiaceae (Guttiferae) Family. There are more than 200 species in the genus and two thirds of them produce edible fruit, some being button mangosteen or cherapu, gamboge, bacuri, imbe, madrono and achachairu. Taxonomy of the family has been controversial. There are also several native Australian species.

Soils:

A wide range of well-drained soils is tolerated, but sands or limestone soils low in humus are detrimental.

Propagation:

The seeds are extremely recalcitrant and best kept moist or left in the flesh till sowing. They can germinate in 2-3 weeks but growth is slow. Care must be exercised when transplanting because of the long, delicate taproot. Wedge grafting can be used but cuttings and marcots have been unsuccessful. Self-grafted plants have a shorter juvenile period but are slower growing and produce smaller fruit. Although apomixis means propagation will be clonal from an individual tree, there can be substantial genetic variation between different trees. Some mangosteen seeds are polyembryonic.

Cultivars:

None known.

Flowering and Pollination:

The solitary or paired terminal flowers have 4 sepals and petals, a globose ovary with a 4-8 lobed stigma and staminodes. They are borne on the tip of older branches throughout the canopy. Staminate trees are thought not to exist. Once bud initiation has been induced by a dry period and watering thereafter is regular and sufficient, fruit set can be 30-35%. For a long while, it was thought that all mangosteen trees were genetically identical. It is now known this is not true, there are small genetic differences. However, pollination is not required to set fruit.

Cultivation:

Young plants should be shaded for the first 2-4 years and can then be exposed to full sun. For this first period they should be watered during any dry periods. They have a tendency for alternate bearing which can be minimised with management Mature trees may require 2-7kg of complete fertilizer pa; it is usually given in split amounts after harvest and anthesis. Mulch is beneficial.

Wind Tolerance:

Mangosteen should be protected from strong winds. The roots of mangosteens are often poorly developed. Trimming the taproot when repotting small trees may encourage more lateral root branching.

Pruning:

Does not require extensive pruning apart from size containment, removal of dead wood, suckers and water sprouts when not flowering or carrying fruit.

The Fruit:

The smooth globose berry, 4-6cm diameter, devlops parthenocarpically and has a persistent basal calyx. The pericarp, 6-10mm thick, turns purple on ripening. The white edible aril is 4-8 lobed and contains the apomictic seeds. When mature, the seeds are easily separable from the flesh. Copious latex is present in immature fruit but this disappears with maturity. Edible flesh is only 25-30% of the whole fruit. It’s best nutritional attribute is maybe a good fibre level; carbohydrate content is about 15%.

Fruit Production and Harvesting:

Juvenility can extend to 20 years, but if well-managed this can be reduced to 5-7. Fruit development may take up to 6 months in cooler areas. Mature trees can produce 200-1500 fruit/tree pa, and up to 3000 have been reported in older specimens (45yrs old). Fruits are picked, with peduncle attached, every 2-3 days when soft and purple; fallen fruit are significantly damaged. The harvest period may last 6-12 weeks. They can be stored at 12-14°C for about 20 days without chill injury.

Fruit Uses:

They are often regarded as one of the best tropical fruits (‘Queen of Fruits’) and are largely eaten fresh for their aroma, texture and delicious flavour rather than any nutritional qualities. They can also be frozen. Many other forms of processing have been unsuccessful as flavour is lost and pulp darkens. Eat mangosteen fruit when their skin still has a little ‘give’ to it. Use your thumb and fingers to crunch the shell around the equator of the fruit until you can break the two halves apart, or make an equatorial cut in the skin and then twist one half off. Very hard skin means the fruit is probably past its best.

Pests and Diseases:

Mangosteen is resistant to most pests and diseases. The thick astringent skin discourages damage by insects and animals. Nevertheless, ants, rodents, grasshoppers, mites and weeds can pose problems. Infections by some fruit fly species limit world trade.

Mangosteen is ultra-tropical and not for Perth unless you have a large greenhouse. For fruit that is similar to mangosteen and slightly more feasible, see the entries under gamboge and achachairu.

Mangosteen Fruit

The Mangosteen is Garcinia Mangostana and is sometimes called the ‘Queen of the Tropical Fruits’. Small round purple fruits contain a white flesh which is regarded as a delicacy.

In Australia Mangosteen trees are grown commercially in Northern Queensland – mainly north of Cairns. We have not seen evidence of the fruiting any further south than this unless in a greenhouse, however it is worth trying as far south as Rockhampton, if you can provide the right conditions.

The tree is best described as evergreen with a natural pyramidical growth habit. Foliage is an olive green and the root system is not overly vigorous. The tree will send down a tp root which makes then difficult to transplant. Some grafted trees are available, most are grown from seed.

Care

Seedling trees are best grown under shade cloth for the first 5 years, they are slow growing at first. A humus rich deep soil with good moisture is essential.

Try a protected position with good sun, perhaps some afternoon shade depending on the climate.

Watering will be required during dry periods as will protection from strong winds. From seedling tree to fruit production usually takes around 6 – 8 years.

Pruning

No pruning is generally required, simply the removal of dead and damaged wood.

Achachairu or Achacha or Bolivian Mangosteen may be an easier tree to grow.

Summary Information.

  • Botanical Name – Garcinia mangostana
  • Common Name – Mangosteen
  • Climate – Tropical areas only unless you create a microclimate.
  • Position – Full sun to a little afternoon shade.
  • Soil – Humus rich moist and well drained.
  • Fruit – Rounded and purple with white flesh around 6cm in diameter..
  • Fruiting time – Autumn
  • Flowers –
  • Height – To 10 metres
  • Frost Tolerant – No
  • Drought Tolerant – No Protect from hot dry winds.

This is a tropical climate tree, that may grow in some sub tropical areas, it will fruit in cooler climates, however a micro climate which provided both warmth and moisture will be required. Frost free is essential.

Although a number of varieties are offered, it is the purple fruiting varieties that are grown commercially.

Although plants can be grown from seed they are somewhat unreliable in fruit production and can take up to 10 years to produce fruit.

This is not a fruit that packs or travels well and is not widely available.

Garcinia tinctoria is the Yellow Mangosteen, segmented yellow fruit that can be eaten fresh or preserved or dried.

Mangosteen Trees are available for sale from the following nurseries

HELGAS NURSERY – 07 4094 1335
9 Meadow Rd Julatten QLD 4871

All About Purple Mangosteens

Every week we get Down & Dirty, in which we break down our favorite unique seasonal fruits, vegetables, and more.

Today: We’re escaping winter this month — in our kitchens, at least — and exploring tropical fruits. This week, we get to know purple mangosteens.

Shop the Story

The purple mangosteen, or simply mangosteen (as it is more commonly called), is hard to come by in the U.S.; this tropical fruit has only been legally coming into the country for under a decade. Prior to 2007, it was banned due to concerns of bringing hitchhiking insects into the country. It seems their prohibition only increased their appeal — mangosteens have quite the reputation. They’re touted as a “superfruit” and “superfood,” and purported to have all manner of health benefits and healing properties.

Praise doesn’t come only from health zealots and food enthusiasts, though — writers rhapsodize about their charms too. The mangosteen shows up in poetry from writers as diverse as Jack Prelutsky and Rudyard Kipling. Perhaps our favorite work dedicated to the mangosteen (Can you tell we have a thing for food poetry?) comes from Daniel Hall, beginning: “These are the absolute top of the line, / I was telling him, they even surpass / the Jiangsu peach and the McIntosh / for lusciousness and subtlety…”

More: Shakespeare, on the other hand, preferred to write about edibles he didn’t like: Sorry, sea beans and gooseberries.

How to Find, Select, and Store
Peak mangosteen season is in the heat of the summer, but they can be found at other times of the year as well. Your best bet is to look in Asian markets, but you can buy fresh mangosteens online too. Take note though: With the mangosteen’s short shelf life, most retailers require overnight shipping, so it could be an expensive taste test. Then again, maybe it’s worth it to try one of this year’s predicted “trendy” foods.

Choose deeply-colored specimens that are firm, yield slightly to pressure, and still have their caps — the stem and sepals (1) — attached. Keep them in the refrigerator, but use them quickly — within a few days.

How to Prep
Before you start prepping your mangosteen, place bets with people (make sure they haven’t eaten a mangosteen before) that you can tell them how many segments will be inside the fruit before you open it. Don’t worry, this bet is a sure thing. Just flip the mangosteen over and look at the raised flower-like pattern on the bottom of the fruit, and start counting. The number of “petals” will correspond with the number of segments (2) inside of the fruit. This information is more than just a party trick: The higher the number the better, because you’ll likely have more seed-free sections to enjoy.

To get into your mangosteen, take a small sharp knife and make a shallow cut (about 1/4 inch deep or so) around the equator of the fruit. Hold the bottom of the fruit in your palm and twist off the top half to expose the aril sections (you know, like the arils in a pomegranate). The segments should be an opaque creamy white (4); any that are yellow are discolored from resin and will be bitter. Alternatively, press them gently until the peel pops and loosens, and peel them that way. The port wine-colored peel (3) is generally considered inedible and discarded, but is sometimes used in juice.

How to Use
To enjoy your mangosteen, grab your prepped mangosteen and a tiny fork, and savor the segments one at a time while imagining a tropical beach. The best way to eat a mangosteen is straight up. Of course, if you happen to have more mangosteens than you know what to do with, you can call us — or juice them to use in cocktails and desserts, or even in savory dishes, like a curry or stir-fry.

What’s your favorite way to enjoy mangosteens? Tell us in the comments!

Photos by James Ransom

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