Due to ongoing restrictions on imports, mangosteen is not readily available in certain countries. Although available in Australia, for example, they are still rare in the produce sections of grocery stores in North America and Europe. Following export from its natural growing regions in Southeast Asia, the fresh fruit may be available seasonally in some local markets like those of Chinatowns. Mangosteen and its related products, such as juices and nutritional supplements, are legally imported into the United States, which had an import ban until 2007.
Mangosteens are readily available canned and frozen in Western countries. Without fumigation or irradiation as fresh fruit, mangosteens have historically been illegal for importation in commercial volumes into the United States due to fears that they harbor the Asian fruit fly, which would endanger U.S. crops. This situation, however, officially changed on July 23, 2007 when irradiated imports from Thailand were allowed upon USDA approval of irradiation, packing and shipping techniques. Freeze-dried and dehydrated mangosteen arils can also be found.
From 2006 to present, private small volume orders from fruits grown on Puerto Rico are being filled for American gourmet restaurants who serve the aril pieces as a delicacy dessert. Beginning in 2007 for the first time, fresh mangosteens are also being sold for as high as $45 per pound from specialty produce stores in New York City.
Source and History..
Cultivation of Lychee began in the region of southern China, Malaysia, and northern Vietnam. Wild trees still grow in rainforest in Guangdong province and on Hainan Island. Unofficial records in China refer to Lychee as far back as 2000BCE.
In the 1st century, fresh lychees were in such demand at the Imperial Court, that a special courier service with fast horses would bring the fresh fruit from Canton. There was great demand for lychee in the Sung Dynasty (960-1279ACE), according to Ts'ai Hsiang, in his Li chi pu (Treatise on Lychees). It was also the favourite fruit of Emperor Li Longji (Xuanzong)'s favoured concubine Yang Yuhuan (Yang Guifei). The emperor had the fruit delivered at great expense to the capital.
In the Chinese classical work, Shanglin Fu, it is related that the alternate name, meaning leaving its branches, is so-called because once the fruit is picked it deteriorates quickly.
The lychee was first described in the West by Pierre Sonnerat (1748–1814) on a return from his travel to China and Southeast Asia. It was then introduced to the Réunion Island in 1764 by Joseph-François Charpentier de Cossigny de Palma. It was later introduced to Madagascar which has become a major producer.
The aril is the flavorful part of the fruit but, when analyzed specifically for its nutrient content, the mangosteen aril only meets the first criterion above, as its overall nutrient profile is absent of important content.
Some mangosteen juice products contain whole fruit purée or polyphenols extracted from the inedible exocarp (rind) as a formulation strategy to add phytochemical value. The resulting juice has purple color and astringency derived from exocarp pigments, including xanthones under study for potential anti-disease effects. The potential health benefits of xanthones were debated in a four-part series in 2009.
Mangosteen is described as an anti-diabetic, supports Endocrine system health and is considered to be the most abundant source for Xanthones, which have shown potent antioxidant properties. Researches have identified a total of over 40 Xanthones from the hull, rind and the pulp of Mangosteen fruits. Mangosteen is thought to have been traditionally used by natural health providers for thousands of years. Modern day science has recently begun to appreciate the incredible, nutrient-rich value of mangosteen and its wide-reaching, health-promoting properties and is a great choice of fruit in this beverage to consume because it contains a number of vitamins and minerals in trace amounts.