Durian- the forbidden fruit

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Durian is a controversial fruit that has both supporters and opponents. Inhabitants of South Asia consider durian to be a delicacy and delicacy, while the communities of other parts of the world durian repulses with their odor. Anthony Bourdain writes about durian so indescribable, something that you will love or despise (…). Your breath will smell like you’re kissing your dead grandma. It’s time to find out more about him.

Durian – origin
Durian (Durio zibethinus L.) is a fruit belonging to the Bombacaceae family. Its name comes from the Malaysian word duri meaning a spike. He is also known as rościan or zybuczkowce. It comes from Southeast Asia and neighboring islands. Occurs wildly in the south of Taninthaya, in Lower Burma and around the villages of the Malay Peninsula. Widely cultivated along roads or in orchards from south-eastern India and Ceylon to New Guinea. In addition to Asia, he is also bred in Australia, Central and North America. The biggest exporter of durian fruit is Thailand.

Durian – tree
Durian is a tropical plant. It needs abundant rainfall to grow properly. In India, it blooms on the banks of streams where its roots can reach water. It grows best on deep alluvial or clay soils. It usually blooms in March and April or in September and October. The durian trees are very high – they reach up to 40 m in height. They are straight, with a short straight trunk and an irregular crown with rough, thin branches that are covered with young or copper scales. The leaves are oblong and lanceolate or elliptical, ovate, rounded at the base with a pointed tip. Dark green and shiny on the top, gray or brown-red hairs on the underside. It has three-lobed flowers in colors from white to golden-brown.

Durian is called the king of fruits because of its large size and weight. The durian fruit can reach up to 4 kg in weight and 40 cm in length. It is covered with a thick greenish or yellowish skin with spikes. Inside the fruit there is a creamy edible flesh with a pudding consistency. The fruits fall to the ground where they ripen. They are very impermanent. After falling from the tree they become fully ripe within 2-4 days, and after 5 or 6 days they are unfit for consumption.

Durian – taste and smell
There are many varieties of durians, only about 300 are named. Although some of them are odorless, most are characterized by a strong smell, even odor. It resembles a combination of broken meat and blue cheese. However, everyone associates with something else. All who once had the pleasure of sniffing durian fruits, certainly remember him. Discoverer Otis W. Barrett described the smell of durian as a combination of cheese, rotting onions, turpentine or garlic and a few spicy spices. However, after eating the pulp, he said that the scent is barely noticeable. According to AR Wallace, durian pulp is a rich almond-flavored cream, but it also senses flavors reminiscent of cream cheese, onion, sherry wine and other such products. He encourages you to eat this fruit, ensuring that it does not cause nausea or other side effects, and the more you eat it, the more you feel like it.

An American chemist working on US rubber plantations in Sumatra was very reluctant to eat durian, although after breaking down he became a great believer. He describes his taste as absolutely delicious (…). Something like a mixture of ice cream, onions, spices and bananas.
Researchers from the German Research Center of Food Chemistry decided to tackle the mystery of the unusual aroma of this fruit. For this purpose, they took extract of durian fruit from Thailand and decomposed it using a mass spectrometer and a gas chromatograph. It turned out that a single compound was not responsible for a strong smell, but a mixture of a number of different chemicals. The study showed the presence of 50 separate compounds in the fruit, including 8 previously unknown to science. In the next stage of the analysis, the researchers linked each labeled substance to a specific fragrance. They singled out, among others smell of burnt onion, garlic, cheese, honey, beef, yeast extract, squid and leek.

Durian – nutritional values

The durian fruit is a real vitamin bomb. Table 1 shows the nutritional value in 100 g of the fruit. The average durian fruit weighs about 600 g. Durian is a source of vitamins from B group – B1, B2, B3, B6 and vitamin C. In addition, it contains magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, zinc and a lot of fiber.

 Durian – health properties
Durian has pro-health properties. Fruit pulp is used as an effective anti-caries agent. Decoction of leaves and pulp are used in edema, skin diseases and baths for people suffering from jaundice. In addition, it is also used in traditional Asian medicine as an antipyretic and a strong aphrodisiac.

Durian – use in the kitchen
The durian pulp is mostly eaten raw, preferably after cooling in a refrigerator, and sometimes boiled with sugar or coconut water. It is then used as a spice for traditional dishes and sweets of South East Asian cuisine. In Indonesia, it is used to prepare a sauce that is eaten together with rice. In Palembang, however, the pulp is fermented, sometimes smoked and served as an appetizer. Inhabitants of the Malay Peninsula preserve the pulp of durian in salt to have access to it throughout the year. Unripe fruits are cooked whole and eaten like vegetables. Also used in gastronomy are durian seeds – eaten in the form of boiled, fried, roasted or dried.

Durian – where to buy?
Durian can be bought in Asian cuisine stores. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to access in Poland. On the Internet you can find one shop, where the price of this fruit is 250 PLN per piece. Although Asian countries produce durian preparations, i.e. dried pieces of fruit or suspended in canned syrup, this type of products is rarely found in Polish stores. To get to know the taste of durian, you can easily buy durian sweets, which include dried fruit flesh. However, its quantity is not large, as it appears only in the 4th place on the list of ingredients.

Posted on: September 5, 2019

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