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What is a mangosteen?

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One of my favorite fruits in the Philippines is mangosteen.

A lot of people ask me, “Bob, what’s a mangosteen?”  Well, a mangosteen, as I said already, is a fruit.

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Ah, it’s some kind of a mango, then?”  Well, no, it is not a mango, nor is it anything like a mango.  It is not related to a mango, it’s not even the same color as a mango.  I am not quite certain why it has a similar name, but it just does.

A mangosteen is a deep purple color.  It has a few green “leaves” on the top.  I put leaves in quotation marks, because they look like leaves, but they are hard, part of the piece of fruit.  They are part of the stem, I guess, they hold the fruit to the tree.

The purple “skin” of the mangosteen is thick, about 3/8″ to 1/4″ thick.  The outside of the skin is deep purple, while the inside of the skin is more of a deep red color, and it will stain your fingers as you dig out the edible part of the fruit.  Really, the outer purple part is more of a shell than a skin, as it is thick and hard.

What about what’s inside, the stuff that you eat?  Well, the mangosteen fruit is broken up into sections, usually 6 or 7 individual sections inside each shell, but it varies.  The edible fruit is white in color.  There are small sections and larger ones.  The larger sections have seeds in them, the smaller ones do not.  The fruit is kind of a tangy “sweet and sour” type of flavor.  It is really one of my favorites.

In the west, the Mangosteen in recent years has become somewhat popular through it’s juice.  Supposedly the juice of the mangosteen has medical benefits, and the juice is sold by many companies.  It is expensive, though, I have seen it for as much as $50 per bottle (the size of a bottle of wine).  Fresh mangosteen in the Philippines is readily available here in my area for P60 per kilo or so.  That’s 2.2 pounds of the fruit for about $1.35.  Personally, I am not sure I believe in the supposed benefits from the juice, but I feel that if there id medicinal value, it is probably much more viable from the fresh fruit than it would be from juice that has been in a bottle for months.

I have learned a trick about mangosteen, something that few people seem to know.  Even when I tell Filipinos, they look at me in disbelief until I prove it to them.  You see, on the bottom of a piece of mangosteen, there is a little part that looks kind of like a flower.  If you count the number of petals on this “flower” on the bottom of the fruit, it will correspond to the number of fruit pieces inside the shell!  To prove it to yourself, you can count it over and over again, and each and every time it will be absolutely correct!  Like I say, few people seem to know this bit of trivia, but now you know it, and can amaze Filipinos when you are visiting here and show them!  Have a look at my video included in this article to see what I am talking about.

So that is my look at the Mangosteen fruit, which is readily available in the Philippines.  It is one of my most favorite fruits, and I buy it very frequently.  Give it a try, I’m sure you’ll enjoy it too!

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Bob Martin

Bob Martin is the Publisher & Editor in Chief of the Live in the Philippines Web Magazine. Bob is an Internet Entrepreneur. Bob is an American who lived in Mindanao from 2000 until 2019. Bob has now relocated back to the USA.

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Louie Velasquez
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Hi Bob, aside from your topic, looking for a point of contact for growing grapes back in the lower Philippines (Mindanao)

Neal in RI
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Neal in RI

Bob
Very nice vidio, have one for me. We accessed it directly on youtube so we could maximize the screen.
The Wife is over my shoulder watching as well, she says she loves them also and she also loves the “siniguelas”and lonzones.

MindanaoBob
Guest

Hi Neal – I’m glad you enjoyed it! Don’t worry, I had enough for you and me both! 😆 I like lanzones too, but am not big on sineguelas.

Randy S
Guest
Randy S

Hi Bob, great article as usual, you are correct about medicinal values in the mangosteen fruit,however,there are even MORE values in the outer skin or shell actually called a pericarb. The pericarb has been used in the early days of folklore medicine for tooth aches,and many other cures. have a great day Bob,
Randy S

MindanaoBob
Guest

Hi Randy – I am happy that you enjoyed it! Indeed, I have heard that the skin of the mangosteen has medicinal benefits too. Thanks for your comment!

Randall Jessup
Guest
Randall Jessup

Hi Bob,

I think the trick to getting the medicinal benefits from the mangosteen’s shell
is to put the skin into a blender and puree it. Then drain the juice into a glass
using a sieve. I haven’t tried it yet so I can’t comment on the taste of the shell
juice. However I can confirm that mangosteen fruit has very nice taste!

ian
Guest
ian

Randall- what is your opinion on using the right kind of juicer rather than a blender in order to better preserve the enzymes in the fruit? Seems i heard something about that but cant remember

queeniebee
Guest

I think I’ve read that the mangosteen shell is dried, and powered into a capsule form…

queeniebee
Guest

sorry for spelling–I mean ground up into a “powder” form and placed in a capsule for nutrient benefits.

MindanaoBob
Guest

I have indeed seen mangosteen capsules before, so that makes sense.

Randall Jessup
Guest
Randall Jessup

Hi Ian,

Sorry, but I don’t know the answer to that one, but it’s something to
look into.

MindanaoBob
Guest

Hi Randall – Glad to get your confirmation on the taste, at least I am not alone on this one! 😆

Perla Kellner
Guest

It’s one of my favorite fruit there in the PI. I ate this fruit almost everyday when I was there. It’s so yummy. :))

Gary
Guest
Gary

Hi Bob, Good topic. We love the mangosteen also, although they are not as readily available in Baguio. I think they probably do have some good medicinal value, and so I hope will help keep the family healthy. I have also heard that the outer shell has medicinal value. We have heard that you can blend the outer shell with the fruit, but not sure how. We usually just throw it away. Has anyone got a good mangosteen recipe? Gary

MindanaoBob
Guest

Hi Gary – Yeah, we need some mangosteen recipes! Good idea. I have never cooked anything with Mangosteen, I always just eat them raw! Ha ha.. they sure are good!

Tina e
Guest
Tina e

Hi Bob. Hope to try this mangosteen when I visit the Philippines next month. My favorite is mango and lanka (jackfruit).

MindanaoBob
Guest

Hi Tina – I like mango and nangka (that’s what it’s called here in Mindanao), but I like Mangosteen better! Ha ha… something about it, it’s perfect for me!

Randy W
Guest
Randy W

Hey Bob, I also can’t wait to try the mangosteen when i go to the philippines. another fruit i want to try is the durian. i know it has a foul odor, but i heard it tastes alright. thanks so much for the info

MindanaoBob
Guest

Hi Randy – I am sure you will enjoy the mangosteen! For me… durian does not have a foul odor… I love the fragrance of durian!

Mita
Guest

Hi Bob, I was just thinking of mangosteens the other day! It’s my favorite Philippine fruit too. I didn’t have it often since it was always expensive here. Thank goodness it’s more affordable these days with the availability of more fruit from Davao.

Magnolia ice cream used to make an ice cream flavor called “Coffee Mangosteen” and it was delicious. The mangosteen in this ice cream was made into jam. I remember you could get mangosteen jam back in the day but haven’t found any since we came back.

MindanaoBob
Guest

Hi Mita – Nice to hear from you, I hope you are doing well! I have seen mangosteen jam in stores from time to time here in Davao, but never tried it. It sounds delicious, I really should give it a try! Mangosteen ice cream sounds heavenly, but I’ve never seen it before! 😀

mercy
Guest
mercy

Just cooked mangosteen jam this morning, it tastes yummy!

MindanaoBob
Guest

Sounds good

brian
Guest
brian

Bob..you really know how to torture someone….next to mango’s their my second fav fruit….I feel lie pavlov’s dog !

MindanaoBob
Guest

Ha ha… Maybe I can get certified in the art of torture, brian! It’s no problem for you, though… all you need do is jump on the next plane, and you can feast on all of the tropical fruits here!

queeniebee
Guest

Hi Bob, your nickname of Mindanao Bob shows through in your choices of fruits. Being that durian is often referred to as “the king of all fruits” and mangosteen is considered “the queen of the fruits, they are both plentiful in Mindanao. Isn’t it so that mangosteen is often eaten as a “chaser” with durian? Mangosteen is also considered a “superfood” for it’s health properties. Luscious I guess like the passionfruit…

MindanaoBob
Guest

Maayong buntag, queenie! Long time no hear! I hope you are doing well. I have not seen people eating mangosteen as a chaser to durian before, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen, it just is not something I’ve seen. Might be an interesting combination! Yes, both mangosteen and durian are plentiful here in Mindanao. Know what, though? My first time to have Mangosteen was in Cebu!

queeniebee
Guest

Maayong Buntag sab Bob! A couple of years ago, I remember watching ABS CBN’s full weekend coverage of the Duaw Dabaw Kadayawan festivities, and the hosts of the show were introduced to durian and mangosteens eaten together and the local emcee mentioned that they are often eaten together. I’m not sure why…

MindanaoBob
Guest

queenie – Kadayawan in Davao is kind of like another festival in another place where I used to live…. Mardi Gras in New Orleans. People do all kinds of strange things during Kadayawan and Mardi Gras! 😯

queeniebee
Guest

I’m sure they do Bob… I just found on-line two reasons why durian and mangosteens are eaten together. One reason is that at this time both fruits are at their height of flavor. Also, eating mangosteens after eating durian is said to nutralize the strong odor in your mouth..

MindanaoBob
Guest

Hi queenie – ha ha… why would anybody want to purge the flavor and/or odor of durian from their mouth? 😯

queeniebee
Guest

I guess we’re asking the wrong guy–maybe Jawz or Bob New York could clue us in! Durian wouldn’t be at the top of my “hit parade” but I’ll try anything once!

MindanaoBob
Guest

Hi queenie – Ha ha… you’re right.. I was just joking, though! 😆 Some people would probably rather just drink some SanMig than anything else to clear the flavor/odor! 😉

rc
Guest
rc

Wow…I spent 2 months there and tried everything from Durian to Lanzones (which are awesome!)…and never knew about mangosteens. I feel like I missed out!

MindanaoBob
Guest

Hi rc – Mangosteen are seasonal, perhaps they were out of season when you were here? Well.. there is always next time! 😉

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