The mysterious and intriguing fruit is nicknamed the king of fruits in Southeast Asia.
- A tropical fruit
- Hard and spiky
- Creamy flesh with edible seeds
- Used in tadintional medicines
- Avoid consuming durian with alcohol
- Opening the fruit
- The horrible smell
- The leaves and flowers
A tropical fruit
Southeast Asia is home to 30 species of durian, among which 9 are used in the human diet. The plant is evergreen and prefers a tropical climate. It belongs to the kapok tree family. The plant is found in all the tropical regions across the globe, particularly in southeast Asian countries of Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand. Thailand is the leading producer of durian in the world.
Hard and spiky shell
The fruit is large with a spiky, hard outer shell and custard-like flesh with large seeds. The color of the flesh may be yellow, white red, or green. The soft flesh is divided into 5 segments, each segment holding one seed. A single fruit accounts for two cups of edible pulp(486 grams).
Creamy flesh with edible seeds
The creamy flesh and the seeds are edible, but the seeds need to be thermally processed. It is savored in soups, candies, ice cream, desserts, and other side dishes. The fruit has a divine taste that can be described as cheese, almonds, garlic, and caramel all at once.
Used in traditional medicines
Durian and its plant parts have been used in traditional medicines, especially in Malaysia to treat high fever, jaundice, and other skin conditions. It contains anthocyanins, carotenoids, polyphenols, and flavonoids along with vitamin B, vitamin C, minerals, healthy fats, and fiber.
Avoid consuming durian with alcohol
Durians should not be consumed with alcohol. They contain sulfur-like compounds that prevent the enzymes from breaking down alcohol, causing increased alcohol levels in the blood which leads to nausea, vomiting, and heart palpitations.
Opening the fruit
The hard spiky shell is not easy to open. It often requires gloves to protect the hands while the shell has to be cut with a knife and then opened with hands before removing the flesh gently. The flesh is sold frozen and is processed for prepared foods.
The horrible smell
- Durian is known for a divine taste and a horrible smell. The smell shall be described as a combination of sulfur, honey, and rotten onions. Research says that the presence of 44 active compounds contributes to the scent. The fruit is banned in several hotels and public transport systems in Southeast Asia.
- There are mixed opinions on the taste and smell of durians – few find it savory and divine while a few of them find it nasty.
The leaves and flowers
- The green leaves are alternately arranged on the branches and emit a pleasant aroma. They are elliptical. The flowers have a feathery appearance and are large. They produce nectar in bulk and grow from the branch itself. Bees and bats are the main pollinators of this plant. The leaf extract is used in the treatment of fever. Beautiful durian flowers on the trunk
- A single fruit weighs around 7 pounds and once it begins to fall on the ground, it can cause severe injury to the people passing under. The older trees produce good quality fruits as compared to the younger ones.
- The plant has a long life and can survive around 80-150 years in the wild. The term durian comes from the Malay word,’duri” which means thorns thereby referring to the sharp spines on the husk – hence the name.