Purple Mangosteen - [Garcinia
The Purple Mangosteen is a rather picky tropical tree which only grows well in a few locations in Southeast Asia and Central Africa, though a few are grown in Hawaii. The tree may grow to 80 feet under the right conditions but will be killed by temperatures above 100°F/38°C or below 40°F/4.5°C, and it's very fussy about soil as well.
The photo specimens were purchased in February 2008 soon after the ban on fresh mangosteens was lifted - provided they were fumigated or subjected to irradiation sufficient to kill Asian fruit fly. Previously they were only available frozen. These were about 2-3/4 inches diameter and weighed 5-1/8 ounces. Yield is about 33%, and at US $4.50/pound for whole fruit that made them quite expensive.
The fruit is of excellent flavor, sweet and tangy, and is eaten fresh from the shell cut (or more properly broken) as shown in the photo. Segments may or may not include a seed and the seeds are edible after boiling or roasting. The number of petals on the flower end of the fruit will be the same as the number of segments within.
Canned mangosteen is easily available in the U.S. but not considered as good because the flavor is quickly degraded by canning heat.
The purplish fruit has a thin brittle shell and a thick fibrous rind which is very high in pectin. A jelly is made from it after bitter elements have been leached out with salt. The red juice of the rind is a dye that's nearly impossible to remove from fabric.
Mangosteen rind has long been used in China and Southeast Asia as an
herbal medicine and now mangosteen juice (made from rind and pulp) is
heavily promoted in the U.S. through sophisticated "Network Marketing"
schemes. It sells for over US $1.00/ounce with implications it can relieve
everything up to and including cancer. Claims for it's benefits are
almost completely unconfirmed and it's extremely unlikely the juice can
deliver anything like the benefits implied. It is, however, making a huge
amount of money for its perpetrators (M2).
Kokum Phool - [Wild Mangosteen (English); Amsool, Aamsul,
Bindin, Biran, Bhirand, Bhinda, Bhrinda, Brinda, Kokum, Kokam, Katambi,
Panarpuli, Kudam Puli, Ratamba (India); Goraka (Sri Lanka);
Kokum is purple fruit used as a souring agent, usually in dried form, though a soft salt preserved form is common in India. It is common along the western coast of India where the tree is native, and takes the place tamarind fills elsewhere. It is used in other regions as well, particularly Sri Lanka and Malaysia where it is used in fish curries and is said to slow spoilage.
In general, whole pieces of the dried fruit rind are added to curries and similar dishes. It is also used, often in syrup form, to flavor summer beverages. The photo specimens, obtained from an Indian market in Los Angeles, were up to 1-1/8 inches in diameter.
Oil from the seeds remains solid at room temperature and is used for
confectionery, cosmetics and medicinals. Various parts of the fruit and
plant are used medicinally.
Details and Cooking.
Gambooge - [Brindleberry, Malabar Tamarind, Citrin Fruit;
Kodumpulli (Karela), Goraka (Sri Lanka); Garcinia gummi-gutta alt
Native to Indonesia but now grown in other regions, this fruit, when mature, is orange with sutures, resembling a miniature pumpkin, though shape may vary. It is used as a souring agent in curries, particularly in Kerela, the far southwest coast of India. Like Kokum it is sold in both hard dried form and soft salt preserved form, and is more citrusy than Kokum.
Gambooge is also now grown in south and central Africa In the West it is
currently being hyped as a weight loss aid, though formal confirmation of that
is still lacking and there is some risk of liver toxicity. Recipes calling for
Gambooge may ask for "a few petals". The dried fruit splits along the sutures
into these "petals".
Drawing by Franz Eugen Köhler in public domain - copyright
Asam Keping - [Asam Gelugur, Asam Gulugo, Asam Keping
(Malay); Garcinia atroviridis]
This yellow fruit, native to the Malaysian rainforests, is too
sour to eat fresh, but has long been used dried as a flavoring in curries
and the like - and like so many others in the Mangosteen family, as a weight
loss potion. The fruit is loaded with antioxidants and is thought to aid
in conversion of fat to energy. The photo specimens, purchased from an large
Indian market in Glendale, CA, were about 2-1/8 inches across.
Bacuparl - [Garcinia gardneriana]
Native to the Amazon Basin of South America, the edible arils of this
fruit are used in the region. It is also being studied as an agent in
Photo by Carolqk contributed to the public domain.
Achacha - [Achachairú: Garcinia humilis]
This fruit is grown primarily in Bolivia, but has recently been planted
commercially in Australia where there is an ongoing advertising campaign to
promote it. The nearly spherical orange fruits are up to 2-1/2 inches in
length, and the arils have a bitter-sweet taste.
Photo by Joseani.neves distributed under license Creative Commons
Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported.
African Mangosteen - [Lowveld Mangosteen; Imbe;
Native to a broad area of Africa from Somalia to South Africa,
this is a traditional food plant in the region. There and elsewhere it is
also grown as a decorative fruit tree. The taste of the aril surrounding
the single seed is pleasantly sweet-sour, but it contains a latex some
people dislike. The juice is used in beverages. The thin skinned orange
fruit is up to 1-5/8 inches diameter. This tree can be grown in southern
Florida (where the photo was taken) and is often made up as a male/female
graft so a single isolated tree will bear fruit.
Photo: any use is permitted provided Christopher Hind is
credited and his Flickr
Page is linked.
Charichuelo - [Garcinia madruno]
Native to Central and South America, the white arils of this fruit
have a sweet, citrusy taste. This tree can be grown in southern
Florida (where the photo was taken).
Photo by Chris Hind distributed under license Creative Commons
Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported.
Cherapu - [Button Mangosteen; Garcinia prainiana]
Cultivated in Southeast Asia, this fruit has a very thin skin, making
it easy to eat fresh. Some have compared the flavor to a tangerine. This tree
can be grown in southern Florida (where the photo was taken).
Photo by Christopher Hind (CiXeL) contributed to the public
Bacuri - [Pakuri; Maniballi, Naranjillo,
Bacurizeiro; Platonia insignis]
Native to tropical South America, this tree bears roughly spherical
fruit up to 5-1/2 inches in diameter. The aril has a sweet-sour taste and
is often used to make condiments and beverages. The oily seeds are used
medicinally to treat skin conditions.
Photo by Hellen Perrone contributed to the public domain.
Mammee Apple - [Mamey, Mamey Apple, Santo Domingo Apricot,
South American Apricot; Mammea americana]
Not to be confused with the Mamey Sapote (Pouteria sapota) the
fruit of which is also called mammee or mamey, this tree is native to
tropical South America and Central America as well as the West Indies. It is
now also grown in West Africa, Southeast Asia, Hawaii and Florida. The
roughly spherical fruit is up to 8 inches in diameter with 1 to 4 seeds
depending on size. The fruit can be eaten in fruit salads but is commonly
made into beverages, including alcoholic beverages. In some cases the fruit
flesh is soaked in salt water to remove bitterness.
distributed under license Creative Commons
Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (attribution required).
St. John's Wort - [Tipton's Weed, Chase-devil, Klamath
weed; Hypericum perforatum and other Hypericum species]
This famous medicinal herb is not used in culinary practice, but is
included here for perspective.
Photo by Michael H. Lemmer distributed under license Creative
Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported.