Mangosteen seed_fruit

Mangosteen seeds and fruits: are the seeds edible?

We have previously talked about the mangosteen tree, season, and how to enjoy mangosteen. For those who have tried mangosteen, you must know that mangosteen is dangerously delicious – to a point where it is almost addictive. When you eat the mangosteen fruits, we are sure you have noticed that mangosteens have a lot of seeds! Single mangosteen can contain as many as 7-8 seeds! Some are large, some are very small – and this brings us to a question of “are mangosteen seeds edible?”

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A closer look at mangosteen fruits

Thai fruits_mangosteen

Mangosteen is covered by a dark purple shell. On the skin, you will observe a green clove and a stem at the top. Then if you look on the opposite side (i.e. bottom of the fruit), you will see dark brown colored clovers, ranging from 4 to 7 or 8 clovers. 

Once you cut mangosteen open, you will see a brighter purple shell and edible white part – usually divided into 4 to 8 parts. Each of them will contain 1 seed (smaller part means smaller seed). 

Mangosteen seed_the fruits

Are mangosteen seeds edible?

To answer this question, we will try to break the answer down into 2 parts. First, can you swallow the seed? And second, will the seed cause any health risk?

While in general, it may be safest to not shallow the seeds, some seeds are very small and we can swallow them easily. As for the big seeds, it is best to avoid swallowing them.

In terms of health risks, we have tried searching for the answer. According to an answer on Siriraj Hospital forum, there has not been any conclusive finding or report of any health risk. In fact, our parents and grandparents have been swallowing small mangosteen seeds for 50+ years. These seeds are made up of carbs, potassium, magnesium, and calcium – something that we would get from our normal diet as well.

How to predict the number of the seeds?

Mangosteen seed_how to predict

We just discovered that there is a way to predict the number of mangosteen seeds, and therefore the size as well. Personally, we prefer smaller seeds that can be easily swallowed if we want to. 

Based on our experience, smaller mangosteens tend to have smaller seeds. However, there is another factor – the higher number of seeds tends to lead to smaller size seeds. This is because one part of the mangosteen meat can only have one seed. The more seeds in mangosteen, means there are more, but smaller parts of mangosteen, each containing smaller-sized seed.

But won’t you only find out the number of seeds after you open mangosteen? Actually, there is a trick to this, which we will share now. 

Remember how we talked about mangosteen fruits having brown-colored clovers at the bottom? The number of clovers tends to indicate the number of seeds within that particular mangosteen. In the example below, when we cut the mangosteen with 4 clovers (#4) – there are 4 seeds inside! And as you can see, one of them is very big so you should definitely avoid swallowing them. Based on our observation – the majority of mangosteens would have 5-6 seeds, 1-2 of which tend to be on a larger side. The 4 clover ones tend to be rare.

So, is it safe to swallow mangosteen seeds?

While there is no conclusive study to show that it’s safe or unsafe to swallow mangosteen seeds, there is always a risk of seeds getting stuck in your throat. We have swallowed countless small mangosteen seeds just fine, however you should not do the same on the bigger seeds.

Nevertheless, mangosteens are delicious and fun to consume. The next time you have mangosteens, take a look at the clover at the bottom of the fruit. And, see if you get lucky and find four-clover mangosteen!

Learn more about Thailand via our other posts!