There are lots of unique fruits that remind you of the sunny and windy tropical environment. Durian fruits are the love-hate relationship for most fruit lovers. The large sizable fruit and the spikey rind are hard going unnoticed. Durian is famous for its smelly custard-like flesh.
What is Durian?
Durian is the edible fruit of trees that comes under the classification of genus Durio. There are 30 recognized Durian species in the world. About nine of them produce this peculiar fruit.
Durian is majorly cultivated in hot and humid countries such as Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, and Southern Thailand. These countries have a huge export market for their fruits and value-added products. There are hundreds of different Durian varieties and species available in nature. But the most popular and well-known type is the Durio zibenthinus. Due to its popularity, the zibenthinus variety is extensively available in the world market. Borneo and Sumatra are the origins of this variety. Although there are several other varieties, they are not widely available in the global market. Most of these varieties have been confined to their original habitats.
The Durian tree is a handsomely growing tree of the Malvaceae family. The evergreen, oblong, and tapering leaves are a true charm to the tall tree. When the season comes, mature branches can bear flowers. A comparatively shorter Durian tree grows up to 25 meters. But the taller ones go beyond that up to 50 meters. Once a durian tree matures after four to five years, it can bear fruits.
The full bloomed Durian flowers are mind-blowing scenery. As, unlike the harsh fruit, the ivory-colored flowers bloom in spring and fall. If you inspect them closely, you can find that a small flower is about 5 centimeters in diameter. But the larger ones are about 8 centimeters. A single cluster may contain about thirty Durian flowers. The five petals, calyx, pistil, and delicate stamens are the main parts of a flower.
The majority of species give pale green-white to ivory color flowers. But some wild relatives give dark red flowers. They are well-liked for their texture and feathery nature. The flowers produce a large amount of nectar and thereby exclude heavy, sour, and buttery odors. Despite this odor, flowers have a subtle floral aroma.
Pollination of Durian flowers
The flying fox bats play a critical role in Durian flower pollination and the flowers show specific adaptations. The nectar and pollens stimulate the animals and insects. The spider hunters, giant honey bees, and birds also contribute to pollination. For the record, flying foxes are not so welcomed. Farmers continuously complained about these animals disturbing the Durian fruit setting. But most researchers say the opposite and bats are not as harmful as and help pollination.
Durian, the king fruit
The durian fruit is readily distinguishable for its appearance. The large size fruit can grow up to 30 centimeters in length. Fully matured fruit will be about 15 centimeters in diameter. A matured fruit can weigh up to 3 kilograms. The most eye-catchy character is the spiky rind. The rind color ranges from green to brown. If you enjoy the unique durian flavor, the fruit is ready to eat when its husk begins to crack.
When the taller varieties start fruit setting, they can collect only after falling from the tree. But generally, the matured fruits are harvested and ripen while waiting to be sold. The smelly custard-like flesh and the large seed are someone’s favorite. Others tend to loath Durian due to the strong odor. The flesh color is mostly white or yellow. But some species show colors as red or green.
Smelly but nutritious Durian fruit
The peculiar flavor and odor is the foremost reason for this comment. Some people express passionate interest, and others disguise Durian. However, this flavor and aroma are the results of hundreds of phytochemicals.
Durian is one of the highly nutritious fruits. No part of the Durian tree is useless. All parts of the plant; leaves, husk, roots, and fruits have been used in traditional Malaysian, Chinese, and Javanese medicines. Conventional medicine uses plant parts to treat various illnesses, such as high fever, jaundice, and other skin conditions.
More than 50% of the Raw Durian fruit is water. But it contains 27% carbohydrates about 5% fats and 1% protein.
If you consume 100 grams, raw or fresh frozen Durian, it supplies 33% of your daily thiamine requirement. Durian is also a rich source of Vitamin B and C. It also provides a considerable amount of minerals and many other antioxidants.
Durian Vs. jackfruit
Some people tend to confuse Durian with jackfruit. The thorn-like husk is similar in both fruits. But Durian is small compared to jack fruit and has more prominent spikes. Both of these fruits are common in tropical Asian countries. So it is not hard to get confused about which is which.
Tips to differentiate Durian and Jackfruit
Well-grown jack fruit can weigh up to 120 pounds while the Durian grows up to 7 pounds. Jackfruit is massive compared to Durian fruit.
Durian has spiky thorns and you can feel bumpiness on the surface of jackfruit. The raised lumps on the surface are rounded at the top and not as harsh as Durian spikes.
Both the flavor and the aroma cannot be more different. Everybody is aware of the unique odor and taste. But jackfruit is different from this rough aroma and sour taste. On the other hand, it has a kind of sweet and alluring taste.
Where to buy Durian?
The largest Durian producers are from tropical Asia and Durian is native to Borneo Island. However, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Singapore are prominent producers and exporters. Although Durian is not native to Thailand, they are the largest exporter in the global market. Other than Southeast Asia, Sri Lanka has a growing market and is a potential exporter. China is also having an enormous demand for Durian. Therefore if you are a Durian lover, don’t worry! Durian is now available all over the globe and there are several value-added products.
Interesting facts about Durian
People use Durian to flavor ice creams and a range of snacks. There are fermented durian products and sticky rice products with Durian.
Durian has an enormous cultural influence. There is a common belief among people as Durian should not be taken with coffee or alcoholic beverages.
In some regions in Asia, Durian is formidable due to its strong smell. Thailand, Japan, Hong Kong, and Singapore banned Durian in public transport. Even the taxis refuse to take passengers with Durian.
Durian is Singapore’s official fruit. The building Esplanade and its architecture have been inspired by the Durian fruit.
Durian is an interesting fruit that lives up to its reputation. Simultaneously it is having high nutrition content and cultural importance. Now, Durian fruit can be found all over the globe and is of pivotal economic importance in some countries. If you are up for the challenge, try out this fruit. If you are into it, you will never be able to stop.