Abundance of Durian
In the southernmost part of my country, the Philippines, durian is grown bountifully. When you first looked at it, it will probably prick your curiosity as it is a totally different kind of fruit compared to the other ones that you normally see around you.
It has a thorn-covered rind that looks like jackfruit. But don’t go near it as you would just look at it with probably a huge question mark written all over your face. Why? Because of its pungent smell.
But don’t be fooled by it.
Once you tasted it, you would never dream of having the same kind of fruit that leaves such a sweet, creamy, chocolate-like taste in your mouth.
It is so tasty and delicious that it becomes addictive probably because of the chocolate taste. Thus, my sister is really addicted to it and can eat a whole lot in one sitting especially the red-colored one.
What is Durian?
The durian is the fruit of several tree species belonging to the genus Durio. There are 30 recognized Durio species, at least nine of which produce edible fruit, with over 300 named varieties in Thailand and 100 in Malaysia, as of 1987
King of Fruits
Named in some regions as the “king of fruits”, the durian is distinctive for its large size, strong odor, and thorn-covered rind. The fruit can grow as large as 30 centimeters (12 inches) long and 15 cm (6 in) in diameter, and it typically weighs 1 to 3 kilograms (2 to 7 pounds).
Its shape ranges from oblong to round, the color of its husk green to brown, and its flesh pale yellow to red, depending on the species.
High in Nutrients
Durian is very high in nutrients compared to most other fruits.
One cup (243 grams) of pulp provides:
- Calories: 357
- Fat: 13 grams
- Carbs: 66 grams
- Fiber: 9 grams
- Protein: 4 grams
- Vitamin C: 80% of the Daily Value (DV)
- Thiamine: 61% of the DV
- Manganese: 39% of the DV
- Vitamin B6: 38% of the DV
- Potassium: 30% of the DV
- Riboflavin: 29% of the DV
- Copper: 25% of the DV
- Folate: 22% of the DV
- Magnesium: 18% of the DV
- Niacin: 13% of the DV
One of the Most Nutritious Fruits
This nutrient profile makes durian one of the most nutritious fruits worldwide.
It’s also rich in healthy plant compounds, including anthocyanins, carotenoids, polyphenols, and flavonoids. Many of these function as antioxidants.
How is it used?
Durian is used in sweet and savory dishes. Both the creamy flesh and seeds are edible, though the seeds need to be cooked.
The flavor is described as tasting like cheese, almonds, garlic, and caramel all at once.
Common food preparations of durian fruit include:
- seeds, boiled or roasted
- candy, ice cream, and other desserts
- side dish
Health Benefits of Durian
All parts of the durian plant — leaves, husk, roots, and fruit — have been used in traditional Malaysian medicine to treat various illnesses, including high fever, jaundice, and skin conditions.
Studies suggest that durian fruit offers the following health benefits.
- Reduces cancer risk. Its antioxidants may neutralize cancer-promoting free radicals. In one test-tube study, durian extract prevented a strain of breast cancer cells from spreading.
- Prevents heart disease. Several compounds in durian may help reduce cholesterol levels and your risk of atherosclerosis, or the hardening of your arteries.
- Fights infection. The rind contains compounds that have antibacterial and anti-yeast properties.
- Lowers blood sugar. Durian has a lower glycemic index (GI) than many other tropical fruits, meaning it may spike blood sugar levels less.
No Solid Claims
While these studies show promise, many have been done on animals or in test tubes. No solid claims can be made until the health benefits of durian have been confirmed by controlled studies in people.
Potentially Harmful in Combination with Alcohol
Consuming durian at the same time as alcohol can cause problems.
Scientists believe that sulfur-like compounds in durian may prevent certain enzymes from breaking down alcohol, causing increased alcohol levels in your blood.
This could lead to symptoms like nausea, vomiting, and heart palpitations.
To be safe, avoid eating durian and drinking alcohol at the same time.
How to Eat Durian
You need to cut the shell with a knife and pry it open with your hands before gently removing the durian flesh.
You can then eat it fresh on its own, paired with sticky rice, or as an ingredient in various dishes.
The flesh is also sold frozen, which slightly changes its texture, making it looser and more stringy.
Durian is also used in prepared foods, such as candy. Yet, while this may give you a sample of its flavor, it won’t provide you with health benefits.
Durian and The Strong Smell
Opinions are mixed about durian’s smell. Some people love it, while others hate it. The smell is very strong and has been described as a combination of sulfur, sewage, fruit, honey, and roasted and rotting onions.
A study on the aromatic compounds in durian found 44 active compounds, including some that contribute to scents of skunk, caramel, rotten egg, fruit, and soup seasoning.
Durian is Banned
The fruit’s smell is so potent that it’s banned in many hotels and public transport systems in Southeast Asia. Your impression of the fruit depends on whether you smell the sweet-smelling or stinky compounds more strongly.
Tell Us In The Comments:
1. Have you eaten durian yet? If so, how did you like it?
2. What was your first impression when you saw a durian for the first time?
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