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Fresh Mangosteens--Found

Was just at Monterey market yesterday and saw fresh Mangosteens, imported from Thailand. $16 / lb. They're good, better than frozen or canned, but not as good as what we had in SE Asia--no surprise there.

Monterey Foods
1550 Hopkins St, Berkeley, CA 94707

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  1. Those are irradiated, not exactly fresh--it's sort of like pasteurization.

    13 Replies
    1. re: Robert Lauriston

      Unlike pasteurization, I don't believe irradiation causes any detectable difference in taste.

        1. re: Robert Lauriston

          Since I do not have a subscription perhaps you could tell me was the flavor of the irradiated fruit better or worse?

            1. re: Robert Lauriston

              Good answer. I did and I repeat which fruit tasted better?
              Ripening of both control and irradiated mangoes was accompanied by changes in glycerides as well as fatty acids. Oleic acid of pulp oil of irradiated mangoes decreased appreciably during ripening as compared with controls. Lin-oleic acid of pulp oil of unirradiated fruits decreased markedly on the 6th day of storage. With irradiated fruits linoleic acid remained unaffected up to the 12th day of storage. Linolenic acid content of pulp oil of irradiated fruit increased much more than that of unirradiated fruit during ripening. Gas chromatographic profiles of volatiles of control and irradiated mangoes showed no difference.

              Differences were found in flavor of fresh sections, fresh juice, and aroma of peel oil when obtained from fruit irradiated with x-rays, as compared with products from nonirradiated fruit. Flavor differences were found in all pasteurized juices from fruit irradiated at 50–60 krad. Vitamin C levels were significantly lower in juice from most irradiated fruit. Flavor differences were found in fresh and pasteurized juice from fruit treated with methyl bromide, and in pasteurized juice from fruit treated with ethylene dibromide. Aroma differences were found in peel oil from fruit treated with phosphine.

              Flavor differences were found and irradiated fruit had more linoleic acid.
              Great but which tasted better?

          1. re: Robert Lauriston

            At least from the abstracts, although differences were noted, they were not characterized, e.g. tastes better, worse, no difference.

            1. re: Paul H

              Thank you Paul H. That is exactly what I asked Robert.

              1. re: Paul H

                The assertion was that irradiation has no effect on taste. Studies have consistently shown that it does. That's hardly surprising: any physical process intrusive enough to kill bacteria is necessarily also going to disrupt some flavor molecules.

                In the US, New York's currently the only place people might get a chance to compare fresh ripe and irradiated mangosteens side by side. However, you can easily find irradiated Chinese garlic and compare it with fresh garlic from the farmers market.

                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                  No one said it didn't have an effect on taste. Your abstracts indicate that it did. They did not however says whether a blind tasting established which of the fruits tasted better.

                  1. re: wolfe

                    xanadude, Apr 28: "Unlike pasteurization, I don't believe irradiation causes any detectable difference in taste."

                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                      That's xanadude's belief. My question is what effect. You submitted scientific abstracts which do not answer the question. They may in the full report.Given there is a effect on taste, what is it? Is the taste better or worse?

                      1. re: wolfe

                        It's sortof beside the point here, no? It makes it taste -different-. Which means it makes it taste not like a mangosteen. And since we're talking about mangosteens and the taste of mangosteens, if we go to the store and get something that tastes different from a mangosteen that's not good. Even if the taste is better than a mangosteen. Because what I'm looking for is something that reminds me of my trip to Indonesia. Not something somehow different, even if better.

                        1. re: Chuckles the Clone

                          Maybe it tastes like a better mangosteen. I'm sure there are levels of mangosteen-ness.

        2. What happened to the plan to grow them in Puerto Rico?

          2 Replies
            1. re: Windy

              I think those darned people who live in NYC buy up the whole supply.

            2. On Saturday, some guys were selling fresh, irradiated mangosteens from a mini-van outside of Century Plaza, on Story, in SJ. They were $22 for a two pound bag. They sometimes have fresh jackfruit too.

              I weighed about a half dozen bags on their scale and they all weighed less than two pounds. When I pointed this out, they offered a $2 price reduction.

              1. I bought some in SF Chinatown 4/26 for about $8 a pound. I have never had them before and so was pretty curious; unfortunately that makes me a bad candidate to judge the quality. Flavor was very nice; a bit like a custardy, particularly flavorful grape. I am assuming that these are the irradiated imported ones. Also cut myself opening up the last of four. Are the frozen ones really that bad? I would guess at least the flavor should be close to what is expected.

                6 Replies
                1. re: twocents

                  I can't imagine a frozen mangosteen would work at all. The key to them is the texture, which is somewhere between citrus and a marshmallow. I've had mangosteen juice (canned) and it is simply very sweet.

                  1. re: Windy

                    Thanks for the comment. I have had the juice too, and agree it lacks distinctiveness.

                    1. re: Windy

                      Frozen mangosteens are way too mushy.

                    2. re: twocents

                      where in chinatown? in the SF chinatown?

                      would love to know if anyone has seen them in SF... thanks!

                      1. re: cubbee

                        SF Chinatown. I think it was Little Paradise, on Stockton at Jackson. Certainly there or on a nearby block on that side of Stockton.

                      2. re: twocents

                        Hm, you wouldn't really be able to cut yourself (unless you mean by a knife) opening fresh good mangosteens; their rind becomes very hard only when they are old, getting spoiled inside, and generally no longer fresh...

                      3. Dan's Produce in Alameda has also got them in stock. I noticed a couple of new and unusual offerings over the weekend.

                        1. Berkeley Bowl has quarts of mangosteen juice in glass bottles about mid-aisle in the
                          quarts-of-juice-in-glass-bottles aisle. $20/quart. Yes, twenty. When I asked a year or
                          so ago about those radioactive mangos from India, they said they had a store policy
                          against radioactive fruit. I assume this is why there are no fresh mangosteens available

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: Chuckles the Clone

                            Chuckles there is a difference between irradiated food and radioactive food. The irradiated fruit has no residual radiation just as you would have no residual radiation after an x-ray. If you had an implant or injected radioactive material for a diagnostic study or treatment you would be radioactive for a limited period. Some effects of the irradiation can be found in the articles whose abstracts are referenced by Mr Lauriston above. Unfortunately, the effects on taste are noted but not characterized in the abstracts.

                            1. re: Chuckles the Clone

                              It's hard to enforce a no-irradiated-produce rule, since in the US there's no requirement that it be labeled.

                              I've gotten irradiated Chinese garlic at the Bowl, though not recently, maybe they stopped carrying it.

                              I'm pretty the mameys we've bought there (including one just the other day) were irradiated. They go from unripe to overripe much faster than the normal ones in Mexico.

                              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                Irradiated produce generally lasts longer and ripens slower than non-irradiated.


                                1. re: aburitoro

                                  Almost all produce stops ripening when its picked. Irradiation halts any further ripening in those few fruits (such as pears) that are an exception.

                                  Conventional produce is often picked unripe so that it won't be as prone to spoilage and bruising. Produce that will be irradiated can be picked ripe or closer to ripe, since it does not spoil nearly as fast.

                                  The FDA is highly biased in favor of whatever's expedient for big agribusiness corporations (e.g. its original proposal to count sewage sludge as an organic fertilizer and its ongoing efforts to ban labeling of milk from rBGH-free cows).

                                  It's very hard to find impartial analyses of irradiation, since most published studies are sponsored by organizations that stand to benefit from it, and most of the critical literature is not very rigorous.

                                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                    We can then assume that these references you found met your rigorous standards for impartiality.


                                    Robert Lauriston Apr 28, 2008 01:39PM

                            2. I saw bags of fresh mangosteens yesterday at New Mae Wah market on Clement Street for $7.99

                              1. Bought a two pound bag of "fresh" mangosteens (irradiated) at Asia Market on Guernville Road in Santa Rosa at $17. These changed my mind about this fruit, having only had canned and frozen versions. Great texture, and teasing acidity with sweet,
                                dancing flavors. Wow.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: jimtak

                                  In the words of Arte Johnson ""Verrry interesting..." .

                                2. One of the most gratifying fruit-tasting experiences of my life was my first taste of mangosteen in Thailand several years ago. I didn't get another chance at fresh mangosteen until last year when I had some in Beijing. It was very good, but nowhere near the cosmic experience of my first time. Does fresh Thai mangosteen have a reputation as being better than the fruit from other countries?

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: charliemyboy

                                    That's because they aren't grown in Beijing. The fruit you ate was most likely grown in Thailand and shipped to China.

                                    It's the same reason bananas are better in Miami than in San Francisco. They're picked ripe.

                                  2. Just seen at Ranch 99 Richmond/El Cerrito, small net bags with 10-12/bag at $7.99/pound.Bags approximately 2 pounds. P.S. How do you peel the suckers? I sawed through my first one. Is there an easier way?

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: wolfe

                                      You don't peel it. You have to saw through it with a serrated knife. When traveling in Vietnam, they cut across the width of fruit like drawing the line of the equator on a globe and then twisted off the top, just like what you might do for an avocado. Then you expose the white fruit flesh in the center.

                                      1. re: singleguychef

                                        That is what I did. For those unfamilar the peel/rind is about 1/4 inch thick and hard. I was wondering if a blow with a mallet might crack it along a fault line or would I end up with mangosteen all over the floor

                                        1. re: wolfe

                                          Run your knife down the sides a few times (~4x) longitudinally, and peel the thick skin away. You can also 'scalp' it to make it easier to peel, slicing off the top cm or so, which exposes the top of the fleshy part.

                                          Or you can just squeeze the fruit with your fingers until the skin cracks and peel it that way, though you'll smash a bitt of the flesh and get some juice on your hands. This is generally how I do it outside after purchasing it from a street vendor in Asia.