Tastes Like Heaven, Smells Like Hell!
The durian fruit, native to Southeast Asia has been known to the Western world for about 600 years. It is regarded by many in Asia as the “king of fruits”. Durian is distinctive for its large size and a strong odor. The fruit can grow as large as 12 inches long and 6 inches in diameter and can weigh approximately 2 to 7 lbs on an average. Its shape ranges from oblong to round, the color of its husk is green to brown, and its flesh pale yellow to red, depending on the species. There are approximately 30 recognized species at this time, but only 9 produce edible fruit so be careful if you ever pick them yourself.
The nineteenth-century British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace famously described its flesh as “A rich custard highly flavored with almonds”. The odor of the fruit can get very intense and has been described to smell like almonds, rotten onions, turpentine and raw sewage. The persistence of its odor has led to the fruit’s banishment from certain hotels and public transportation in Southeast Asia. A much different taste perhaps than Mr. Wallace’s description of the fruit.
Durian tree starts bearing fruits four or five years after plantation. The tree grows up to 50 meters in height depending on the species. It is also a seasonal fruit and can found during the months of Summer, which coincides with that of the other tropical fruits like Mangosteen, Jackfruit, and Mango.
Health benefits of Durian fruit: Durian boasts a host of health-promoting goodness
Good for the skin (Vitamin C – 80%)
Vitamin C is an in important factor in making collagen, an important protein found in the skin, bones, tendons, ligaments, and blood vessels. It plays a vital role in wound healing, and every cup of durian contains 80% of the daily value (DV) of vitamin C.
Aids in digestion (Thiamin – 61%)
Durian is brimming with thiamin, is rich in dietary fiber, B vitamin which promotes a normal appetite and helps produce hydrochloric acid in the stomach for proper digestion of food and a good laxative. The fiber content helps to protect the colon mucous membrane by decreasing exposure time and as well as binding to cancer-causing chemicals in the colon.
Regulates blood sugar levels (Manganese – 39%)
It can aid in regulating blood sugar levels through the help of its rich manganese content.
Fights depression (Vitamin B6 – 38%)
It is packed with vitamin B6. Lack of vitamin B6 in the body may lead to depression. Studies have shown that depressed patients are low in vitamin B6, one of the nutrients essential in producing serotonin, a neorotransmitter chemical that affects mood.
Avoids and relieves constipation (Fiber – 37%)
The king of fruits is rich in fiber, a complex carbohydrate which absorbs water and expands in the digestive tract to gently and effectively speed up the process of moving bulk through the system.
Maintains healthy bones (Potassium – 30%)
It is also rich in potassium. When talk is about bone health, most would only focus on calcium. But potassium is also a key nutrient for healthy bones. It conserves calcium by preventing too much from being excreted in the urine.
Combats migraine headaches (Riboflavin – 29%)
Are you suffering from migraine? Munching on durian might help ease the pain. Riboflavin is another B vitamin found in durian which helps and is used to treat migraine headaches.
Helps maintain a healthy thyroid (Copper – 25%)
When it comes to thyroid health, iodine is probably the only nutrient that most people associate it with. The trace mineral copper also plays a role in thyroid metabolism, especially in hormone production and absorption.
Promotes healthy pregnancy (Folate – 22%)
Durian is also loaded with folate, one of the must-have nutrients for pregnant and planning to get pregnant women. Folate is essential for normal tissue growth and protect against brain and spine problems for the developing baby.
Relaxes nerves and muscles (Magnesium -18%)
Prevent muscle cramps through the help of durian which is a good source of magnesium, which acts as a chemical gate blocker in nerve cells. Over active nerve cells can result in over contraction of muscles.
Selection and Storage
The durian fruit is native to Southeast Asia and can be spotted in almost every market in Asian. People have differences in preferences regarding ripeness, while some like slightly ripened, tart flavored durians while others might like to cherish over ripened. Usually, ripe fruit that falls off the tree is collected and put to sell.
It can now be found in almost all the super markets and your local markets in the United States and Europe. Durio zibethinus is the only species available in the international market: other species are sold in their local regions.
Once you’ve discovered the durian fruit in your local market, choose one that has a firm stalk. The fruit can also be stored in the refrigerator for few days.
Outer surface of the durian fruit is fully covered with sharp spikes, capable of causing cuts; it is therefore, one should be careful while handling it. Cut open the fruit longitudinally the same way you do in Jackfruits to expose the underlying creamy yellow or red pulp. Slice the pulp to remove seeds.
Durian fruit is used as a flavor base in a wide variety of sweet edibles such as traditional Malay candy, ice kachang, dodol, biscuits, etc.
It is also used in the preparation of ice-cream, milkshakes, Yule logs and cappuccino.
Red-fleshed durian is traditionally added to sayur, an Indonesian soup made from fresh water fish.
Ikan brengkes, a fish cooked in a durian-based sauce, traditional in Sumatran islands in Indonesia.
Unripe durians may be cooked as a vegetable in variety of dishes.
Durian seeds, which taste similar to jack fruit seeds or yam can be eaten boiled or roasted.
The list is endless of how beneficial the durian fruit is to our health. Next time you’re walking through your market and happen to come across a huge durian fruit, pick one up and bring a treat for your family to enjoy too. You never know, you may just learn to love the fruit despite it’s rumor of it’s unpleasant smell.
Happy Shopping Fruit Lovers!Sm
By: Ida L