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Wednesday, September 2, 2015

DURIAN - NUTRITION AND TASTE

DURIAN (Durio zibethinus) is the only species grown as commercial fruits for domestic and international market: other species are sold in their local regions. Regarded by many people in southeast Asia as the "king of fruits", durian is distinctive for its large size, strong odour, and formidable thorn-covered husk. The fruit can grow as large as 30 cm long and 15 cm in diameter and it typically weighs 1 - 3 kg.  Its shape ranges from oblong to round, the colour of its husk green to brown and its flesh pale yellow to red depending on varieties. Among popular varieties in Malaysia are D24, D197 (Raja Kunyit or Musang King), D16 and few others. In Thailand many export varieties such as Munthong, KanYau, Chanee and Kob are popular varieties. The edible flesh emits a distinctive odour that is strong and penetrating even when the husk is intact. Some people regard the durian as having a pleasantly sweet fragrance but to others (mainly European) find the aroma overpowering and revolting. The smell evokes reactions from deep appreciation to intense disgust and has been described variously as rotten onions, turpentine, and raw sewage.

The persistence of its odour has led to the fruit's banishment from certain hotels and public transportation in Southeast Asia. The durian, native to Southeast Asia, has been known to the Western world for about 600 years. The nineteenth-century British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace described its flesh as "a rich custard highly flavoured with almonds". The flesh can be consumed at various stages of ripeness, and it is used to flavour a wide variety of savoury and sweet edibles in Southeast Asian cuisines. The seeds can also be eaten when cooked. There are hundreds of durian cultivars; many consumers express preferences for specific cultivars, which fetch higher prices in the market. Durian fruit is used to flavour a wide variety of sweet edibles such as traditional Malay candy, ice kacang, dodol, lempuk, rose biscuits, and, with a touch of modern innovation, ice cream, milkshakes, mooncakes.


Pulut Durian or ketan durian is glutinous rice steamed with coconut milk and served with ripened durian. In Sabah, Malaysia red durian is fried with onions and chilli and served as a side dish. Red-fleshed durian is traditionally added to sayur as an Indonesian soup made from freshwater fish. Dried durian flesh can be made into kripik durian (durian chips). For many Malaysian, Tempoyak refers to fermented durian, usually made from lower quality durian that is unsuitable for direct consumption.Tempoyak can be eaten either cooked or uncooked, is normally eaten with rice, and can also be used for making curry. Sambal Tempoyak is a Malaysian dish made from the fermented durian fruit, coconut milk, and a collection of spicy ingredients known as sambal. In Thailand, durian is often eaten fresh with sweet sticky rice, and blocks of durian paste are sold in the markets, though much of the paste is adulterated with pumpkin. Unripe durians may be cooked as a vegetable, except in the Philippines, where all uses are sweet rather than savoury. Malaysians make both sugared and salted preserves from durian. When durian is minced with salt, onions and vinegar and it is called 'boder'.

The durian seeds which are the size of chestnuts, can be eaten whether they are boiled, roasted or fried in coconut oil, with a texture that is similar to taro or yam, but stickier. In Malaysia and Indonesia, the seeds are sliced thin and cooked with sugar as a confection. Uncooked durian seeds are toxic due to cyclopropene fatty acids and should not be ingested. Young leaves and shoots of the durian are occasionally cooked as greens. Sometimes the ash of the burned rind is added to special cakes. The petals of durian flowers are eaten in the North Sumatra province of Indonesia, while in the Moluccas islands the husk of the durian fruit is used as fuel to smoke fish. The nectar and pollen of the durian flower that honeybees collect is an important honey source, but the characteristics of the honey are unknown. The exotic durian is native to Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia. While there are 30 known species of Durio exist, only 9 of them have been identified for producing edible fruits. Durian tree starts bearing fruits after four or five years after plantation. The tree can grow upto 50 meters in height depending on the species.


Durian is a seasonal fruit; its season lasts typically from June until August, which coincides with that of the other tropical specific fruits like mangosteen, jackfruit, and mango. The fruit is distinctive for its large size, unique odor, and formidable thorn-covered husk. It can reach up to 30 cm (12 in) long and 15 cm (6 in) in diameter, and typically weighs one to four kilograms (two to seven lb). In shape, it varies from round to oblong; colour of its husk (rind) is green with brown; and its flesh features creamy-yellow to saffron colour bulbs depending upon the species. The flesh or pulp can be consumed at various stages of ripeness, and is used as flavouring agent in a wide variety of culinary and sweet preparations in Southeast Asian cuisines. Durian seeds are small, round to oval shape and appear like that of jackfruit seeds. Although boiled seeds can be eaten safely, many discard them. The seeds feature a bland taste akin to jackfruit seeds. Its edible flesh emits a distinctive odour which can be described as strong and penetrating, even when the husk is intact. This unusual stinky and intense odour of the durian fruit may have prompted many people to express diverse and peculiar opinions ranging from deep appreciation to disgusting!.

Health benefits of Durian fruit are tremendous according to most Malaysians. Durian, like other tropical fruits such as Banana, avocado, and jackfruit, is high in energy, minerals and vitamins. 100 g fresh fruit carry 147 calories. The fruit is made of soft, easily digestible flesh made of simple sugars like fructose and sucrose that when eaten replenishes energy and revitalizes the body instantly. Though it contains a relatively higher amounts of fats among the fruits, it is free from saturated fats and cholesterol. Durian is rich in dietary fiber, which makes it a good bulk laxative. The fiber content helps protect the colon mucous membrane by decreasing exposure time to toxins. It also helps bind and eliminate cancer-causing chemicals from the gut. The durian fruit is a good source of antioxidant vitamin-C (about 33% of RDA). Consumption of foods rich in vitamin C helps the human body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful free radicals. 

The fruit is an excellent source of health benefiting B-complex groups of vitamins; a rare feature among fruits, such as niacin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), pyridoxine (vitamin B-6) and thiamin (vitamin B-1). These vitamins are essential for the body as it requires them from external sources to replenish. Further, it also contains a good amount of minerals like manganese, copper, iron and magnesium. Manganese is utilized by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase. Copper is required in the production of red blood cells. Iron is required for red blood cell formation. Fresh durian fruit is a very rich source of potassium. Potassium is an important electrolyte inside cells and body fluids that help controlling heart rate and blood pressure. Additionally, it also contains high levels of essential amino acid, tryptophan (also referred as "nature's sleeping pill"). Tryptophan in the humans metabolizes into serotonin and melatonin; the two neuro-chemicals that play a vital role in sleep induction and controlling epileptic events. Thanks.
By,
M Anem,
Senior Agronomist,
Farmers Market, Precint 4,
Putrajaya, wilayah Persekutuan,
Malaysia.
(12 Rejab 1436H)

1 comment:

  1. assalamualaikum, Tuan Anem. bagaimana saya boleh menghubungi tuan?

    ReplyDelete