The peak season for Mangosteen in Thailand is between May and June. This is a good time as the price is relatively cheap at only 20-25 baht a kilos. Which is less than US$1. The mangosteen starts of being green and then turns deep purple as it ripens. It is about the size of a small apple. However, you cannot eat it in the same way nor do you peel it like an orange. The easiest way is to careful cut around the diameter with a sharp knife, being careful not to pierce the fruit inside. Then you just twist the two sides apart. Inside you can see the white succulent fruit. It looks a bit like cloves of garlic but of course much softer. The number of segments vary. You can always find out how many there are inside before cutting it open. Just count the number of petals on the bottom of the mangosteen. Having six small segments is better than four fat segments. This is because the bigger ones are more likely to contain a seed which you shouldn’t eat. The taste of the mangosteen is sweet though it can be a little sour if you bite into the seed by mistake.
Some people believe that the thick skin has medicinal uses. In Thailand, there is a popular soap made from mangosteen skin that is good for skin infections. There is also a tea that is supposed to help diarrhea and bladder infections. Other laboratory tests have shown that the skin may have anti-cancer benefits as well as being anti-inflammatory and antifungal. However, be very careful when you cut open the mangosteen. The skin contains a dye that is difficult to wash out of your clothes. Like an apple, once cut open, you should eat within five minutes as it will start to discolour. The next time you have an opportunity, try some mangosteen. You won’t be disappointed.
Thai name: มังคุค