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Step #1: Shopping for Durian Fruit
Durian is very healthy, with high concentrations of vitamins and minerals. It is unique among fruit in that it contains the B-complex vitamins (great for vegetarians!). It is also rich in dietary fiber and high in vitamin C, potassium, essential amino acid, copper, iron, and magnesium. Note: If gout runs in your family, limit your intake of durian to 1 portion per day (about 1/2 cup).
Usually, durian is either loved at first taste or hated. Its fruit is sweet and 'buttery' in texture,... with very little juice. The first time I tasted durian, I was reminded of a creamsicle (not an exact comparison, but it might give you an idea). Durian can be eaten fresh or used to make various types of desserts.
Interesting Durian Facts
- Durian has been called the King of Fruits because of its enormous size (about 1 foot long), weight and the amount of fruit it contains.
- Because of its weight and sharp spikes, falling durians kill a number of people every year (for this reason, newer hybrids have been developed to make durian trees less tall)
- Thailand is the world's largest exporter of durian. A lot of durian fruit comes to our North American stores frozen.
- Durian is good for you!
- Durian has a famously strong smell and is therefore banned from most public places in Southeast Asia, including hospitals and trains. When traveling, it's always humorous for Westerners to see a 'no durian' sign posted beside the 'no smoking' signs!
Shopping For Durian
Durian is sold in Asian markets or Asian grocery stores. Look for light-colored spikes without any dark brown patches or bits of white between the spikes (signs of over-ripeness). Durian fruit freezes well and is often exported and sold frozen. Store your durian in the refrigerator or a cool place until you're ready to open it.Continue to 2 of 10 below.
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Set Durian Upright in Preparation for Cutting.
Place Durian stem-side down on a clean cutting surface. Using a large, sharp knife, make a cut through the thick skin in the top of the durian.Continue to 3 of 10 below.
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Make a Cut in the Top of the Durian
Cut a slit into the top the durian, about 3-4 inches long. As you cut, pull back the skin with your other hand, as shown.Continue to 4 of 10 below.
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Use Your Hands to Pull Apart the Skin.
Now put your knife down and use Your hands to open the durian. The skin will rip fairly easily (just be careful not to poke yourself against the spikes).Continue to 5 of 10 below.
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Open the Durian.
You should be able to open the durian completely now. Lay the two halves down on your cutting board.Continue to 6 of 10 below.
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Remove the Fruit.
Use a spoon (or your hands) to remove the large 'pods' of fruit.Continue to 7 of 10 below.
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Remove Stones from Fruit.Before eating or serving, it's best to remove the stones. In some Southeast-Asian countries, these stones are boiled or roasted and eaten.Continue to 8 of 10 below.
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Cut Open the Other Sections
As my husband always says when opening a durian: "But wait, there's more!" Use your knife to cut along the 'seam', and you'll find more sections of fruit (think 'giant orange', and then you'll have an idea how durian is designed).Continue to 9 of 10 below.
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Removing Additional SectionsRemove additional sections of fruit and enjoy.Continue to 10 of 10 below.
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Washing Your Hands
Working with durian can leave your hands smelling of durian all day long. Here's a tip I learned from my husband's family, all of whom love durian, but not necessarily the lingering scent. Running hot water through (or in and around) the durian skin creates a very mild lye water which, when combined with soap, helps gets rid of the smell. I tried it and it worked for me!
Enjoy your fresh durian and all of the many health benefits this unique 'king of fruit' brings!