Durian is most widely known in the U.S. as being a stinky fruit, with an odor variously described as rotton onions, turpentine, or gym socks. They are solely imports here, either fresh or frozen, and while I have tried durian jam I have never had the opportunity to try the raw fruit. The fruit has a wickedly thick and pointy shell, so to cut this open Harrison grabbed his (very dirty) work gloves and a sharp knife. I recommend using cleaner gloves…
It took a fair amount of sawing to expose the lobes (called arils, just as with pomegranates).
At this point we dug in, scooping out the flesh and seeds and eating it straight out of the shell with our fingers. The texture is custard-like, with the slightly fiberous outer lobe edges like a well-cooked artichoke. Not overpoweringly sweet, the flavor is similar to banana but richer. The smell? It did have a whiff of gym sock, but either due to the variety or the fact that this was a frozen, thawed fruit, it really wasn’t too pungent.
I found myself thinking of seafood as we ate, both because of the texture of the lobes and the shape and general biology of the fruit. It was like a shellfish carapace.
We also cracked open a few rambutans (those little Tribble-looking things in the bowl). They are quite similar to lychee in flavor in texture, though less floral and a bit more citrusy.
Durian is really nutritious, with much higher levels of protein, fiber, and fat than most fruits. We enjoyed it, and I think it would make excellent ice cream. If you get a chance to try one, do not be afraid…
Thanks for reading,