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A large round fruit, native to Southeast Asia, that grows on trees and is distinctive in appearance with its spiked outer shell. Durians grow in round and oblong shapes in excess of 8 to 10 pounds, but generally the fruit is available in sizes ranging from 3 to 10 pounds. The semi-hard shell of this fruit has short, protruding, sharp spikes that cover the inner cavities that contain the edible pulp or meat. Divided into sections, similar to individual pockets, the 5 chambers that grow within the shell each contain a creamy, thick pulp, which is custard-like in texture. The meat provides flavors that may be nutty and bitter to sweet and fruity, somewhat similar to a flavor of strawberries mixed with bananas. This meaty pulp also provides an aroma that is strong and can be nauseating to some. Within the flesh there are large brown seeds that are edible if cooked prior to eating. They can be roasted or sliced and fried in a seasoned oil.

There are different varieties of durians, each with a somewhat different flavor and texture. Durians with yellow meat generally have a sweeter flavor while white meat varieties may have a nuttier taste. The inner flesh can be smooth or wrinkled. If wrinkled, the meat is creamier with a bittersweet, somewhat nutty flavor. Smoother skinned durians have a fruitier flavor and a slightly less creamy texture. To prepare, the fruit can be sliced in half between the stem and the bottom or the concave sections can be cut in an elliptical shape and pulled back away from the shell of the fruit. Either method will allow access to the pockets that contain the creamy textured flesh so it can be scooped out with a large spoon for serving. Make sure no juice drips onto any item which can be stained, such as clothing, as it will permanently mark areas where it spills.

Durians should be eaten fresh and not stored at room temperature for more than 3 to 5 days. It is best to select well formed fruits without blemishes. By inserting a knife into a durian it is possible to check for freshness, which is indicated if the residue remaining on the knife is sticky.

The durian fruit can be used in baking sweets, in making jams, for use in custards, or as a flavoring for milk shakes and ice-cream treats.

USDA Nutrition Facts

Serving Size1 cup, chopped or diced
Total Fat5g
Total Carbohydrates27g
Dietary Fiber3g

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