Love it or hate it, we all know durians as the spiky, pungent fruit with a vast array of different species.
But did you know that there are annual durian contests to crown new varieties? Or that, contrary to popular belief, durians can be good for your health?
Whether you’re a durian aficionado or amateur, read on to discover four lesser-known facts about the king of fruits and boost your durian knowledge!
1. Durians are Packed with Nutritional Benefits
They may be a sinful treat, but durians offer numerous scientifically proven health benefits.
They are naturally rich in vitamins and minerals, including potassium, iron, dietary fibre, vitamin C and vitamin B complex. These elements go a long way in improving your muscle strength, digestive system, and skin health.
2. Want to Check if a Durian is Ripe? Shake It!
One of the easiest ways to tell if a durian is ripe without opening the fruit is by shaking it.
Hold it up to your ear, using towels or gloves if needed, and give it a good shake. Total silence? The fruit could be under or overripe. If there’s a hard thumping sound, then it’s not ripe enough as the flesh is dry and tough. Ideally, you’d want to hear dull knocking sounds: that means your durian is good to go.
So why does shaking work? Ripened durians have soft but not too watery flesh, and since durian seeds aren’t attached to the shell, they can move around when shaken.
A helpful tip for picking the ripest morsels during the durian season!
3. There are Durian Competitions Every Year
Did you know that durian farmers and experts gather annually to determine the best durians of the year?
From regional contests to the prestigious World Durian Championship, it’s a prime chance for plantation owners to strut their stuff and gain recognition. On top of that, it’s also where many new, delicious breeds of durians can be discovered and officially registered.
4. Durians Begin Fermenting Once They Drop
You might be familiar with durian varieties with a distinct alcoholic taste, such as the popular XO durian.
This taste actually comes from the flesh fermenting naturally in their husks, which starts as soon as the durian falls from the tree. Like cheese, wine, and other fine fermented foods, the fermentation process affects how durians eventually taste, with longer fermentation leading to stronger flavours.
So if you’re a fan of milder, sweeter flavours, you would most likely prefer durians with a shorter fermentation time as opposed to those fermented longer to give it an alcoholic punch.
Of course, one of the best ways to halt the fermentation process and preserve durians at their best is to freeze them.
5. Durians Can Be Cloned
Durian lovers will say that no two durians are ever the same. But did you know that many durians such as the Black Thorn are produced through cloning?
Durian clones are descendants of a selected durian cultivar. They are created by grafting the clone’s stem onto a mature kampung durian tree trunk, which then produces fruit using the grafted stem’s genes.
A pretty fascinating way to ensure durians of the same breed have a consistent flavour profile!