13 Sep2007


by Marketman


How do you take 80 kilos worth of wonderful mangosteen back to Manila as check-in baggage when you are only allowed to bring 20 kilos??? My trusty market scouts (members of the Cebu office crew), felt that mangosteen prices were possibly at their lowest and the volume of mangosteen at the markets were perhaps at their peak, so in an instant, I sent off folks to the Carbon Market armed with some funds and they promptly returned with a shocking 80 kilos worth of glorious mangosteen in two humongous wooden crates for just PHP1,500. That is a stunning PHP18.75 per kilo, or 40 U.S. cents, or 18 U.S. cents a pound, or roughly 2-3 U.S. cents A PIECE! That in comparison with the several dollar per piece New York City price tag Apicio reported in a previous comment. Amazing. It upsets me that something that costs 3 cents here would retail for some 150 times that amount on Madison Avenue…


If there were no shipping costs involved nor customs to deal with, I would have sent a kilo of mangosteen to all my regular commenters on marketmanila.com around the world… At any rate, back to the burning question. How the heck to I make 80 kilos of mangosteen “lose some weight?” Since I knew the bulk of the mangosteen was for jam, in preparation for the holiday season giveaways, we decided to PEEL all of the mangosteen and put them in disposable plastic containers, then added measured amounts of sugar and they began to steep even before I boarded my flight. With all hands on deck in the office kitchen, we “processed” 80 kilos in less than ONE HOUR. Then we packed the taped plastic containers in sturdy plastic bags, placed these inside cardboard boxes, and voila, the 80 kilos of fruit became just 25 kilos of pulp and sugar and the nice airline check-in guy didn’t charge me any excess baggage charges. Besides a slight hiccup with the x-ray folks who thought I had devised some clever mangosteen bomb, it was a breeze. Pretty nifty huh? If any of you are headed to Cebu, Zamboanga or Davao in the next few days, this is how you can bring back an incredible amount of the fruit… Just don’t let it steep for more than say 6 hours unrefrigerated. In a couple of hours, we will have finished bottling another 60 or so jars of mangosteen jam. Our pantry is getting might happy. I feel like winter is approaching. :)




  1. erleen says:

    pretty clever!!!

    any game you want us to play soon?

    I hope some of those end up as raffle prizes!!!

    Sep 13, 2007 | 7:14 pm


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  3. kaye says:

    i was just drooling over my officemate’s story about her brother in law bringing her 20kilos of mangosteen from Zamboanga and here’s another post making me want to run to Zamboanga and hoard some myself.. haay! if only they can be shipped here and sell at around 30 a kilo.. WISH!

    Sep 13, 2007 | 7:48 pm

  4. sister says:

    Mangosteen from Costa Rica is $5. each and not very good at that but I just had to try…

    Sep 13, 2007 | 9:08 pm

  5. Cookie says:

    I absolutely love mangosteen! Ever since I was a little kid, it has always been my favorite fruit. An article posted in the NYTimes last year about a guy named Ian Crown, trying to get the US Dept of Agriculture to approve the importation of mangosteen and rambutan (google Ian Crown, mangosteen and you can read the article). I think he’s growing mangosteen somewhere in South America. I’ve seen rambutan being sold in NYC Chinatown but haven’t seen Mangosteen yet.

    Sep 13, 2007 | 9:12 pm

  6. Risa says:

    In addition to all the applause for this wonderful fruit, don’t you guys miss coffee mangosteen ice cream?

    It has burned such a food memory in my brain that I can picture exactly where I was standing across the street from our house clutching a plastic goblet and teaspoon of the stuff. I was in a red housedress and there was some party at my house. I think I was 8.

    Sep 13, 2007 | 9:50 pm

  7. Em Dy says:

    I remember that ice cream from Magnolia too. It was one of my favorites.

    Sep 13, 2007 | 10:13 pm

  8. MegaMom says:

    If there were no shipping costs involved nor customs to deal with, I would have sent a kilo of mangosteen to all my regular commenters on marketmanila.com around the world…
    MM, I’d settle for a sliver of that mangosteen jam that you are preparing (or planning to, at least) :)

    Sep 13, 2007 | 10:17 pm

  9. sonyday22 says:

    Lucky for Toronto which is a diverse metropolitan city, we have a whole variety of tropical fruits – mangosteen, lanzones, rambutan, fresh langka, durian, chico, atis, yellow mangoes, etc. Once the cravings start to set in, we head off to the Chinese grocery to savour the alluring smells and tastes of fruits back home!

    Sep 13, 2007 | 10:29 pm

  10. edel says:

    we just bought mangosteen for P35/k.. that’s divisoria price

    Sep 13, 2007 | 11:07 pm

  11. det says:

    sonyday22,you are lucky indeed kasi it was in toronto china town na nakabili kami ng lanzones few years back when we visited canada.south florida is now trying to grow tropical fruits including lanzones

    Sep 13, 2007 | 11:08 pm

  12. Maria Clara says:

    Love love mangosteen jam especially when it is over six months old. The nutty seeds are so good. I recreate the coffee mangosteen ice cream using Starbucks espresso ice cream and mix it with the jam and stick it back in the freezer. When ready I scoop it out and bath it with espresso flavored caramel the rest is history.

    Sep 14, 2007 | 12:21 am

  13. eej says:

    Boy, I had my fill of Mangosteen, Durian and Rambutan when I went to Davao late August. I realized mid to late August is the peak fruit season in Davao, so I’ll make sure to time my future visits around it. Never had mangosteen jam before; but after reading this, I’m wondering what it taste like. Personally, I find jams and jellies cloyingly sweet for my taste. But this one piqued my interest.

    Sep 14, 2007 | 1:45 am

  14. Ted says:

    I get them frozen from Seafood City here in N.California at $5 per lb. They come from Thailand and I’ve since stopped buying them as well as the frozen Atis since you don’t know if they are ripe or ready to eat once you thaw them out. Most of them are not ripe when thawed. Sonyday22, I miss the really fresh ones from Toronto, I’ve tried all of what you mentioned when i was there a couple of years ago.

    Sep 14, 2007 | 2:57 am

  15. fried-neurons says:

    Wait, wait, wait… back up for a second…

    Mangosteen is available in NYC??? What about California? Does anyone know?

    I’m salivating at the prospect…

    Sep 14, 2007 | 2:57 am

  16. tulipfleurs says:

    I must be deprived as I’ve never had “mangosteens” before. :-) The closest is those “drinks” that have mangosteens in them. Growing up in Northern California, it was only a couple of years that I heard of mangosteens. Now I’ll be on a quest to look for them if any? Ted mentioned they have frozen ones at Seafood City so I’ll try them first. Have a good day ya’ll . . .

    Sep 14, 2007 | 5:10 am

  17. Maria Clara says:

    From the bottom of my heart, I thank you much for your wishful thinking to pass around mangosteen to us. You really are above and beyond the call of duty! What really amazes me the fresh pungent seeds when inadvertently bite into them are intimidating. Yet, when jammed they are heavenly it surpassed any nuts I know and I have not heard of jam nuts. They have praline that’s about it.

    Sep 14, 2007 | 5:47 am

  18. Apicio says:

    Eating fruit out of hand brings me closest to nature and fruits in season make me feel as though I am drawn right into the centre of nature’s bounty. Last week I picked up a dozen of rare Fiorello pears that are easily three to four times larger than what I am used to these last thrity years. Same blushed yellow-green skin, same stunning sweetness but oh so uncomonly full and juicy it felt as though I needed to put on a bib so as not to make a mess when I bite into one.

    Shedding two-thirds of mangosteen’s weight by getting rid of its cortex and adding sugar for shipping is simply inspired. You should get what they awarded Mr. Birdseye for pioneering the freezing of vegetables, the Nobel Peas Prize.

    Sep 14, 2007 | 6:07 am

  19. ykmd says:

    You are too funny Apicio :)
    I agree, that was an inspired move MM! I’ve never tasted mangosteen jam, but the lengths you go to just to make it really piques my interest to taste some!
    Haven’t seen mangosteen hereabouts (Seattle area) though…

    Sep 14, 2007 | 6:12 am

  20. sonia says:

    please give us the recipe for mangosteen jam. thanks!

    Sep 14, 2007 | 7:14 am

  21. Mila says:

    A recent trip to Zamboanga meant I had several kilos of mangosteen to bring home, good thing I didn’t have any check-in luggage, other than the box of fruit. P5 a kilo in Jolo! And many days thereafter eating the yummy fruit.

    I wonder how much it would cost to process and then ship mangosteen jam to the US. If they sell the fruit at $5 each, maybe it would be possible to sell it at gourmet stores at $25 a jar. Didn’t someone on Marketmanila take the calamansi marmalade idea towards volume production for their community project? Why not mangosteen?

    Sep 14, 2007 | 7:18 am

  22. Mangaranon says:

    Can you believe that Agatha and Valentina sells mangosteen at US$12 apiece?

    Sep 14, 2007 | 7:24 am

  23. Ted says:

    For $12/pc, I’ll just get a roundtrip ticket to Toronto for the price of 5lbs (10pcs/lb) of mangosteen ;-)

    Sep 14, 2007 | 7:39 am

  24. betty q. says:

    Hi MM…I have asked my sister each time she goes back home (3x year) to look for mangosteen jam for me…would you consider trading some of your jam for my FAMOUS WICKED CHOCOLATE CAKE…this cake is my pride and joy next to my husband and 2 boys…I entered this cake in a competition (locally sponsored’95 Chocolympics here in Vancouver) and it won the Grand Award cake category… One taste of this cake and you will be hooked!!!…Let me know and I shall ask my sister to bring back for you 1-14 inch loaf of this cake…wanna trade?

    Sep 14, 2007 | 8:00 am

  25. bernadette says:

    thank you very much for the mangosteen info, MM! Now I can reason out to the fruit vendor in our palengke that her mangosteens are overpriced.

    Sep 14, 2007 | 8:07 am

  26. Marketman says:

    bernadette, it is supply and demand and proximity to the tree… PHP5 per kilo in the Jolo, PHP18 in Cebu wholesale, PHP35-40 in Divisoria, Manila wholesale, PHP80-120 in Manila groceries retail, and about PHP5,000+ per kilo in NYC retail!!! betty q, I am still rushing to make enough bottles for our xmas lists. But if your sister is in Manila, she can buy mangosteen jam by Kablon farms at Tiendesitas, Market!Market! and better groceries for about PHP150 a bottle. Kablon’s version is not bad, but if you have friends in Davao, the Lorenzo farm mangosteen jam is STILL the finest commercial version I have had. Of course it is better if you make it in your own home…heehee. Mangaranon, that is outrageous, the wrost I have seen is Euro4 for a mangosteen at Fauchon in Paris one year… Mila, I really need to make a mobile jam kitchen to drive around Mindanao when fruits hit their peak! sonia, jam recipe is in the archives, type in mangosteen jam and keep scrolling down until you get to the post. ykmd, you must try a good mangosteen jam, it is delicious! Apicio, Nobel Peas Prize, I LOVE IT, can I use it ina post sometime in future??! Maria Clara, you got it, I LOVE the seeds, they are delicious Tulipfleurs, a bad mangosteen is horrible, but a good one is sublime! fried neurons, maybe they’ll still have some when you are in Manila next time… Ted, I can’t imagine the fruit frozen, maybe I will try it to see the effects on flavor. eej, the jam is sweet, but also flavorful. edel, imagine, double the cebu price na! Amazing to hear that Toronto has such a wonderful selection of fruit! Megamom, I need to finish off the Christmas list, but maybe a bottle or two can be raffled off in a Marketmanila holiday contest… :) Risa and Em, make mangosteen jam, buy Haagen Daz coffee ice cream and serve together, it is even BETTER than you remember.

    Sep 14, 2007 | 9:05 am

  27. elisha says:

    do you think i can substitute “equal for baking” for the sugar in the jam? i come from a family of diabetics.

    Sep 14, 2007 | 10:34 am

  28. Blaise says:

    I’ve been buying and eating mangosteen everyday last week and the week before that, now that I’ve ran out, my suki in the market no longer has fresh deliveries of mangosteen.. Oh where could I buy mangosteen again??

    Sep 14, 2007 | 11:40 am

  29. MarketFan says:

    Hi Marketman,

    We were in Davao last weekend and mangosteen sold for P20 per kilo near the city proper. Nearer the farms and trees, maybe 10-15 per kilo. The small ones (native variety) were the sweetest. I was wondering whether you took out the seeds when making jam but your reply above says no. I hope to be able to make your jam recipe soon.


    Sep 14, 2007 | 12:31 pm

  30. Marketman says:

    Marketfan, do NOT remove seeds, they are delicious cooked. And yes, I made a batch with the “native” or smaller mangosteen and the flavor is superb. Blaise, there is still a lot around Manila, but a RIDICULOUS vendor at Market!Market! just quoted me PHP200 a kilo a few hours ago. I asked her if she was drunk on the fumes of rotting mangosteen, which she didn’t get, I guess. But there are suckers born every day, every day… elisha, I’m sorry, I wouldn’t know the answer to your question as I haven’t baked with equal…though I suspect jam can’t be good for a diabetic, period…

    Sep 14, 2007 | 1:02 pm

  31. sometime_lurker says:


    Hey, Apicio, if you have your own public blog, please let it be known. I’d like to bookmark you also. Your comments are always hysterically interesting ;^)

    Sep 14, 2007 | 2:00 pm

  32. zeph says:

    Mangosteen season has indeed arrived. My roommate’s mom just brought with her about 15 kilos of mangosteen and rambutan from Davao two days ago and we were feasting like there’ll be no mangosteen for the rest of the decade.

    Sep 14, 2007 | 4:21 pm

  33. Ted says:

    Elisha, you might want to try granulated “Splenda”, not sure if it is available there, but it is now available at COSTCO.

    Sep 14, 2007 | 11:58 pm


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