Mighty Life List
Jan 14 2010

Taste 1,000 Fruits: Purple Mangosteens

mangosfull

These are Mangosteens, and they are superb. I tried them for the first time in Bali around 2000, and they’re still my favorite fruit.

I got this stash in Chinatown, and at the time I was fairly sure they were illegal. They were tucked way, way, way in back and it was about $40 for a small bag. I’ve since discovered that they were cleared for U.S. import in 2007 and small quantities are grown in Puerto Rico, mostly for gourmet restaurants.

They’re delicious, of course, but also so pretty. The purple outer shell is like a thin layer of carrot over a wide hunk of red pith.

mangospith

You crack one open by squeezing it in your palm, and then peel back the pith inside to reveal the fruit.

mangosinside

I know they look a little like giant maggots, but they taste like juicy, peach-perfumed pineapple candy. The flesh is actually a lot like a very ripe peach, but with a bit more toughness to the fibers.

mangosemma

My niece likes them too.