Also called King of Fruits, durian weighs anywhere from 1 – 3 kgs. Durians are native to Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei, though they’re exported Philippines and Thailand in large quantities and other parts of the world. It is covered with a thorny husk and banned from public places in several parts of Asia, thanks to the smell that many find unappetizing and revolting. However, there are many who love durians, while some consume it for medicinal benefits. This way or that, here are few tips that will help pick the best durians.
There are different varieties of Durian and depending on one’s taste and preference, what might be the best method to pick durians could be unsuitable for one lot or other. For example: Some will like durians that are nicely ripe and soft with an open husk, while some prefer fresh and young durians that are crisp. So depending on your preference, you can pick a method that works for you.
Durian is a seasonal fruit and available from June – August, though depending on the climate, few Asian regions have two harvests a year. Durian trees flower during monsoons, so it is a good idea to check on that before packing your bags for a durian treat.
As mentioned earlier, durians are at their smelliest best when ripe. Even so, the smell doesn’t permeate the husk liberally. However, when ripe, it does have an odor, a reason durian buyers smell it before buying.
In most cases, durians that fall off the tree taste better. So, when you take a look at the joint, look at whether it has a clear cut, or if it looks like it was broken. In case of the latter, it is ripe and you’re good to go. Also, slightly try moving the stem in durian. If it moves, then the durian is ripe. Also, try scratching the stem with your nails. If it is at least slightly green under the skin it is fresh. You don’t want durians that aren’t fresh, since they were probably picked before they were ripe and left to ripe under tarp, which means, they might look ripe but won’t taste good. Only durians that fall from the tree when ripe taste good.
Another way to tell if a durian is ripe is by shaking it. Shake the fruit when holding it close to your ear. If the fruit is ripe, the flesh would be soft and the seeds would bang within the shell. If seeds are rattling without any resistance, then the fruit is overripe. If you don’t hear any sound, the flesh is hard. Depending on your preference, you can pick the one that suits you best.
It is important to understand that not many can stand the smell of Durian, so if you are buying a cracked durian, you will need an airtight container to transport it without causing ruckus.
A few places have also banned durian, which means, you should not take them out around those locations.
While in some places you can use public transportation system while carrying durians, it is a good idea to avoid them and use a taxi.
The riper the durian, the more pungent the odor and when they’re not cracked open, the smell is considerably less.
Ripe fruits also have a bitter taste and feel more alcoholic, while unripe fruits are chewy, leathery and the odor is often lesser. Unripe fruits are often tasteless.
When you check a durian, look for irregular shape, holes, etc.
Opt for fruits with thick thorns, as they’re said to taste better.
You can also buy frozen durians, though they’re often picked when unripe and many find frozen durians tasteless and odorless. Since many equate the odor to taste of the fruit, it doesn’t satisfy durian lovers.
There are other ways to check like using a knife, or splitting a durian open, scrapping it, etc. It is a good idea to request the vendors to pick a good one for you. While not all vendors can be trusted, good and experienced vendors can usually pick a good fruit for you.