Photo by Banar Fil Ardhi / EyeEm via Getty Images

Also, here's what a mangosteen is

Kat Kinsman
August 20, 2018

I have many sources of regret and shame in my life. Some of them I must find a way to either rectify or reconcile myself with and move on. Some of them are fruit-based, and I will repent by making sure no one will repeat my mistakes. So I say this to you: Eat the mangosteens while they are young.

Mangosteens aren't in the widespread fruit lexicon in America, but would probably be in many folks' top five favorites if they ever got a chance to taste them They're a spherical, tropical fruit that can easily fit in the palm of your hand, and have a leathery, maroon outer skin that protects a payload of creamy, white segments that taste like a combination of lychees and your longtime crush saying I love you for the first time. This probably sounds hyperbolic—unless you've actually been lucky enough try a mangosteen, in which case you're nodding your head and wondering where I found my stash. (A large Asian market in Brooklyn's Chinatown. Please leave a few for me.)

It stands to reason that most people wouldn't have encountered a mangosteen before. The juice is finally being sold by a mainstream company at a reasonable price for the first time in the US, and for many years was known as the "forbidden" fruit. This wasn't a moral or biblical designation, it seems, but rather because of some legislation around importing, irradiation, and fruit flies that was finally lifted in 2007, Americans (outside of Hawaii where some are grown) who hadn't traveled to Southeast Asia would likely not have sampled one and developed an immediate obsession, and devoted their lives henceforth to demanding that their local fruit purveyors bring them in at all costs.

But here's the problem: When you buy a sack of mangosteens, ideally the outer skin is slightly pliable—you can press in lightly with your thumb and it will slightly give—and it's easy to slice through the equator with a sharp knife and lay bare the treasure within. But if that skin dries out even a little, which doesn't take long, it hardens to granite and you possibly need a diamond-tipped circular saw to breach it. And even if you do, you may not be pleased with what you discover inside. The segments mold, brown, and shrivel into the physical manifestation of regret.

So you are left with a few options: Make sure the mangosteens are kept slightly damp, in a cool place, to slightly prolong their life, or jam as many mangosteens into your diet as you can possibly physically manage while they're still in their optimal state. Hoard them for yourself, or invite a trusted friend over and share your precious stash. Yes, you could technically freeze the segments to enjoy them later, or preserve them in syrup, but it's just not the same. Gorge yourself on fresh mangosteens, be present with your fresh mangosteens, make yourself sick on fresh mangosteens. I promise you won't regret it.

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