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Mangosteen

Underneath the fibrous purple rind of a mangosteen is a fruit so sweet and soft, it comes as no surprise that it is a favourite of many Malaysians.

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The mangosteen is a fruit that is commonly found in Malaysia. At first glance, it looks like an ordinary fruit that is purple in colour with a thick stem at the top. The outer layer is firm to the touch but yields to pressure when pressed hard. Originating from Southeast Asia, the fruit is a favourite amongst everyone, from the old to the young. The tree takes a while to bear its fruit: about eight to ten years. A legend which has followed the fruit for decades claims that Queen Victoria herself was so taken with the taste of the fruit that she offered a knighthood to anyone who could deliver a ripe mangosteen to Buckingham Palace! Hence it is known as the 'Queen of Fruits' in Malaysia. Its cool and sweet taste of the fruit is said to complement and calm the 'heated' flavour of the durian, the 'King of Fruits'.

The taste of the fruit is unlike any other fruits known to man, in Southeast Asia or other parts of the world. There are some that say it is like nectarine with a dash of pineapple and strawberries, whereas others claimed that the taste of its soft white pulp bear hints of peach and muscatel grapes as well as other unexplainable flavours not found in other fruits. The white segments somewhat resemble those of oranges, only smaller in size. The larger segments may have a seed inside, whereas the smaller segments are seedless and soft enough that they just melts in the mouth when consumed. The rind is pressed between the palms, cracking open to reveal the treasures within. One interesting fact about the mangosteen is that its sap has always been used as a black dye. Therefore, utmost care must be taken when consuming mangosteen as the sap may stain clothes and hands.

In the past few years, health experts have claimed that the mangosteen contains natural substances which are said to be beneficial for a person's health. Researches have shown the substance known as xanthones are abundant in the rind of the mangosteen. Studies have shown that xanthones are a powerful antioxidant, an ingredient commonly used to fight diseases like cancer and heart disease, and its has substantial effects against Alzheimer's and diarrhea. Some companies have even started bottling mangosteen juice, touting the availability of the fruit's goodness to everyone anywhere in the world. Whether it is for health purposes or just for the simple enjoyment of nature's bounty, there is no doubt of the pure bliss that awaits when eating the mangosteen.

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