ingredient information
The mangosteen (Garcinia mangostana) is a tropical evergreen tree, believed to have originated in the Sunda Islands and the Moluccas. The tree grows from 7 to 25 meters tall. The rind (pericarp) of the edible fruit is deep reddish purple when ripe. The fragrant flesh is sweet and creamy, citrusy with a touch of peach flavor. In Asia, the mangosteen fruit is known as the "Queen of Fruits." It is closely related to other edible tropical fruits such as button mangosteen and lemondrop mangosteen. It has a flavor similar to but different from its cousin the button mangosteen with an interesting taste but unlike its cousin its skin is a hard rind instead of being tissue-thin. The outer shell of the fruit, its exocarp, is firm (softens during ripening), typically 4-6 cm in diameter, and contains astringent phytochemicals which discourage infestation by insects, fungi, plant viruses and bacteria. The same phytochemicals are pigments giving the exocarp its characteristic purple color, including phenolic acids, also called phenols. These pigments have antioxidant properties which afford the fruit further protection from ultraviolet radiation and free radicals generated during photosynthesis. Isolation of exocarp pigments has permitted their identity to be revealed as xanthones, mainly garcinol and mangostin[1], which, as phenolics, make the exocarp highly astringent and inedible. Cutting through the shell, one finds edible flesh, botanically defined as an aril, shaped like a peeled tangerine but bright white, about 3-5 cm in diameter, nested in a deep red outer pod. Depending on the fruit size and ripeness, there might be seeds in the aril segments. The seeds, however, are not palatable unless roasted. The number of aril pods is directly related to the number of petals on the bottom of the pericarp. On average, a mangosteen has 5 aril segments (round up figure). The plant does not start producing fruit until around 15 years old, which is somewhat an impediment to cultivation. Several commercial mangosteen juices are on the public market, primarily in the United States and Canada. The multi-level marketing company XanGo markets a mangosteen juice blend in the US.