Many fruits have called the tropics home over the centuries, and one of the most special is undeniably the delicious Mangosteen fruit. Also known as the 'Queen of Fruits', the Mangosteen was once the favorite of Queen Victoria, who reigned over the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 1837 to 1901.
Because the Mangosteen called warm, humid countries home, the tropical fruit rarely survived the nearly month-long, cold journey of over 6,000 miles to Europe. And so it is said that Queen Victoria promised to grant a knighthood to anyone who could bring the tart-sweet fruit from the lush rainforests of the East to the luxurious halls of Buckingham Palace.
It's no secret that Queen Victoria was one of the world's earliest "foodies". Though she liked routine: cakes with afternoon tea, along with some ice cream and fresh fruit, she also proved her culinary sense of adventure on a number of occasions, like that one time she ordered street food: bratwurst and beer, at a German market. She also put up her own private whisky distillery and reportedly adored artisan Perry (an alcoholic drink made with fermented pears) from Gloucestershire.
Queen Victoria of England Portait (Oil on Canvas) by Alexander Melville
But the Mangosteen's origin story began long before it tickled royal palates—on an island most of us have never heard about. Many believe that the slow-growing Mangosteen tree first rose across the Sunda islands, which extends from the Malay Peninsula to the Moluccas, which is located southeast of the Asiatic mainland near New Guinea.
Under the best conditions, the mangosteen tree can grow up to 31 feet—that's about as high as a two-storey house. Its rich, dark green leaves can spread to a span of 10 inches. And it takes a lot of patience to cultivate, only bearing fruit at around 8 to 15 years.
But as anyone who's tasted the delicious mangosteen fruit will tell you: it will be worth wait.
Illustration from Fleurs, Fruits et Feuillages Choisis de l'Ile de Java 1863–1864 by Berthe Hoola van Nooten (Pieter De Pannemaeker lithographer)
Food culture and tastes may have evolved, but the mangosteen is here to stay. So far, it's been cultivated in Indonesia, Thailand, and southern Philippines. And elsewhere in the world, it has thrived in the West Indian Islands, mostly in Jamaica and then in Honduras, Panama, Guatemala, and Ecuador. Some have even grown it successfully in southern Florida.
And because of the slow and steady rise of the Mangosteen, people are starting to take notice; some food writers have even hailed the mangosteen the most delicious tropical fruit in the world, so why is it still vastly underrated? For starters, in many countries the Mangosteen can be expensive and difficult to come by, but here's why we think the Mangosteen should be more well-known and beloved around the world.
Here's Why the Delicious Mangosteen Fruit is a True Treasure of the Tropics
1. The Mangosteen Tastes Like your Favorite Fruits Combined
As far as tropical fruits go, the mangosteen is an "all-star". When ripe, its white, juicy flesh packs a flavor that is both sweet and tart with a pleasant sourness. Biting into a mangosteen is both a surprising and familiar experience, because its taste is reminiscent of more popular fruits like lychees, peaches, and bananas.
2. When it Comes to Health Benefits, The Mangosteen is an Overachiever
The Mangosteen is SERIOUSLY good for you.
Each serving (about a cup of mangosteen fruit) is relatively low in calories. It's also packed with essential nutrients like vitamin C and folate. Want to up your fiber content for better digestion and weight loss? Mangosteen's can help.
Other health benefits include preventing cancer and building immunity. (Pretty cool for such a little fruit.)
3. The Mangosteen Can Be Your New "Beauty Secret"
Not only is a healthy helping of mangosteens good for your health, it can make you even more radiant. Studies have shown that the its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties can help protect skin cells from sun damage and premature aging.
4. By Supporting The Mangosteen, You're Also Helping Communities
Farms across the Philippines cultivate the mangosteen and depend on its production for their livelihood. And so by purchasing mangosteen or patronizing goods made with mangosteen, you're helping these families and communities grow, too.
This is why Chibundle Foods has partnered with Kablon Farms, which specializes in making juices, jams, jellies, marmalades, chocolate bars, spices, and fruit preserves naturally, including their naturally sweetened and richly-flavored Mangosteen Preserve.
According to Eunice Pantua Prudente, her family has cultivated and established Kablon Farms Food Corporation in Tupi, South Cotabato, in the Southern Philippines for four generations. Engineer Ernesto Pantua, Sr., fondly called Lolo Teto, started it all by planting the first batch of trees and crops.
When these bore fruit, his children and grandchildren would play under its shade, then pick and enjoy the fruits freely. This bountiful environment inspired them to create delicious products, to share the flavors they grew up loving with the rest of the world.
After many years, the Pantua family still remain hands-on, making sure that each product is crafted and refined through regular family taste tests. They're always motivated by the belief that healthy food should not be a luxury for the few, but a gift shared with many.
And we couldn't agree more!
Let Kablon Farms' Mangosteen Preserve tickle your tastebuds by ordering our Holiday Hurrah! Chibundle, here or ordering it in bulk via our Mangosteen Preserve Multi-pack (6 jars per box), here.