Dawn breaks over the jungles of Southeast Asia and begins to burn away the nighttime mists. Although it is early, the streetside produce markets in villages and towns throughout the land are already bustling with activity, for today is different. In these tropical climates, most fruits and vegetables are available any time of year, but today the open-air markets are humming with an almost electric anticipation. This only happens twice a year. Every six months. That’s the harvest cycle for the fruit prized above all others. The Queen of Fruits!For countless generations, the people of Southeast Asia have valued the mangosteen above all other fruits. These are people intimately acquainted with the plants of the rain forest. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of edible fruits, nuts, stems and roots. And yet only the mangosteen carries the label “The Queen of Fruits.”
Why does the mangosteen deserve such a title? Certainly a major reason is the role the mangosteen played in ancient Southeast Asian medicine. Traditionally utilized to control fever and ward off infections of every kind, the whole mangosteen fruit was used and revered.
But the people of early Southeast Asia weren’t all that different from us. Yes, they recognized and valued the medicinal benefits of the mangosteen. But what really caught their fancy was the taste! Difficult to describe, yet impossible to forget.