Durian (Durio zibethinus) is a member of the Bombaceae (Durian) Family. The genus name is from the Malaysian duri, meaning spike, in reference to the sharp spines. Every year, people are killed by falling durians. The species name zibethinus means, smelling like a civet cat. The plant is native to Southeast Asia.
Durian is from one of the world’s largest fruit trees. They are a preferred food of wild elephants, orangutans and tigers. Fruit bats feet upon the nectar of durian flowers. They are considered aphrodisiac, a longevity food, and a vermifuge (worm dispelling). Durians are a strong blood cleanser, and consuming them can alter the urine’s odor. A saying in Malaysia is “When the durians fall, the sarongs rise.” They are high in oleic fats, vitamin E, and sulfur and contain more protein than any other fruits.
Select durians with a brown, greenish or yellowish color, rather than green. Yellowish tends to be overripe, though not in some cases. Avoid any with soft spots or holes, indicating mold or worms. The aroma should be sweet and pungent to indicate ripeness. If the spines flatten a bit, that indicates ripeness. Tapping the bottom with a heavy knife and a hollow deep sound indicates ripeness. Frozen durians must be thawed eight to twenty four hours before consumption. Select one heavy for its size. Look for a durian that is beginning to split longitudinally and heavy from its size. They will continue to ripen, when left at room temperature. Enjoy durian by itself or share with a group of friends.