Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Mangosteen Tasting!

A small delivery of mangosteens appeared at the culinary school on Monday! I'm not sure how or where they came from, but a few of the chef instructors had them, and my Monday night instructor was generous enough to share his with us.

None of us really knew much about the mangosteen other than, 'Hey, isn't this that really crazy fruit that was banned in the US until last year and costs so much money that it hardly matters that we can import it now?' We definitely weren't sure how to cut it open or what to expect once we did. So dutiful culinary explorers that we are, we huddled around a cutting board
shoulder to shoulder, made preliminary gestures with paring knives and fillet knives and chef knives, until we finally got tired of being delicate and THWAP! The mangosteen was breached.

My pictures didn't turn out very well, so I only have this one. If you want to see how a mangosteen should be properly dissected, take a look over HERE. There aren't instructions, but I'm thinking that you use a paring knife to cut around the equator of the fruit about a half inch deep and then pull the cap off. That husk is pretty tough, so it must be tricky to use enough force to cut through it without damaging the fruit within.

I also found surprisingly little information on mangosteens during my quick 10 minute search just now, aside from that it was illegal to import it into the US until recently, it's crazy expensive, and it purportedly has some nifty healthy benefits...if you can manage to acquire enough of them in one place (and don't have to share) and then continue having access to them for a long period of time.

The outer skin and husk is inedible (though some of my research says that can be used as a nice fabric dye!). You eat that white flesh in the center--scoop it out with a spoon and eat it just like that. Once removed from the husk, the flesh looks like a milky mandarin orange and--also like a mandarin--there's a little seed in each quarter that you have to spit back out. (I really like the posh delicacy vs. pedestrian vulgarity of this fruit!) The texture in the mouth is a cross between the juicy burst of an orange and the melty flesh of a strawberry. And completely contrary to this, the taste was like a cross between coconut and banana--to me anyways.

Have any of you had the chance to try a mangosteen? What do you think--is it worth the hype?!

2 comments:

Evie said...

Looks like it's time to make some mangosteen cookies :)

Emma C said...

Honey, if you make those I INSIST on being invited to the tasting! I was also thinking that they would make an interesting curd, and then using the curd on top of shortbread--like a lemon bar. The trick is still getting enough mangosteens in one place...