Many of us already have a basic understanding of durians. They're known as the "King of Fruits" since they stink a lot, have prickly thorns, and are heavy in calories, making them undesirable for dieters. If you're a true fan of the fruit, here are 10 amusing durian facts to know if you want to call yourself a connoisseur of Southeast Asia's King of Fruits.
1. Durians come in 30 different species, but only 11 of them are edible
Durians come in around 500 different types in Southeast Asia alone. There are about 100 durian kinds in Malaysia, with more than 100 in Indonesia. Thailand, as the world's largest exporter of durian, boasts over 300 kinds of the fruit.
Only about 30 species have been identified, and only 11 are thought to be edible. Non-edible variants are not dangerous, but they are generally wild kinds with little to no pulp and big seeds, making them unsuitable for eating.
- There are "thornless" durians that are fully natural
Thornless durians are totally natural and occur as a natural variant due to a genetic mutation, notwithstanding their rarity. As a result, the plants yield fruits with either few or no thorns, and the thornless durians resemble coconuts rather than durians.
They're smoother, rounder, browner, and smaller than their thorny cousins. The flesh of a thornless durian is white to pale yellow in color, and it tastes sweet and creamy like conventional durians.
- The seeds of durians are edible
Before you go ahead and consume the whole durian seed, keep in mind that durian seeds must be boiled before eating. To make chips, the seeds can be boiled, roasted, or deep-fried. Because raw seeds contain cyclopropene fatty acids, a cancer-causing chemical, they are not safe to eat.
- The highest price paid for a durian was USD47,990
The most expensive durian kinds in Malaysia are Musang King and Black Thorn. The kanyao durians from Thailand, however, are the most costly durians ever sold.
It is a unique kind that was auctioned for 1.5 million baht (USD47,784) on the 7th of June 2019 at the King Of Durian Festival (All Thailand) in Nonthaburi.
Farmers handpicked the fruit the day before the auction, and it was chosen for the auction because of its shape, maturity, and size. Kanyao durians are reputed to be the most expensive in Thailand. They're sweet and creamy, and their tall stalks make them simple to spot.
- The most common wild species is the Durian Merah, or red-fleshed durian
The red-fleshed durian, also known as durian merah, is a rare edible durian found mostly in East Malaysia. Durians with orange flesh are often known as yellow durians. This species, known scientifically as Durio graveolens, is smaller and less pungent than conventional durians.
Because of their visually appealing look and vividly colored flesh, they are a must-try for durian fans. Red-fleshed durians, on the other hand, are harder to come by because they are usually marketed commercially in East Malaysia.
- The scientific name for durian comes from the Malay language of the 16th century
It's referred to as durian by everyone. Only true aficionados, on the other hand, are aware of the history behind their well-known names. Durio zibethinus is the scientific name for the most common species that we consume today, with "durio" originating from the Malay word durian.
Because the king of fruits is native to Malaysia and not found anywhere else in the globe, historians believe the word durian, duri meaning thorn and -and the noun-forming suffix, was used in the Malay archipelago as early as 1580.
- Durian trees can live for over a century
Durian trees can reach 50 meters in height and survive for 150 years or more, though their fruit yield reduces with age. It's crucial to remember, though, that the quality of the fruit improves with age, which is perhaps why people advertise the age of the tree while selling durians.
In other words, the more valuable the fruit, the older the tree. The world's oldest durian tree, according to legend, is 300 years old and hails from Thailand!
- Durians are relatives to okra, hibiscus, and cacao
Durians are members of the Malvaceae family of mallows, which also includes okra, hibiscus, cocoa, and cotton, among other common commercial plants. Scientists once categorized durians as part of the Bombacaceae plant family.
However, DNA studies undertaken towards the end of the twentieth century revealed that durians and mallows are very closely related. They were then reclassified as Malvaceae, a bigger single plant family.
- The Musang King has a female companion named Musang Queen
Every king, even the Musang King, has a queen. Musang Queen, the king's accomplice in crime, is more widely known as Tekka or D160 — a popular type of durian native to Selangor. The Musang Queen was the first durian variety to be recognized in June 1987, a year before the Musang King.
Tekka is well-known among durian fans, as its brownish-yellow flesh has a bitter flavor and a smoothness that some people enjoy. However, because of its overpowering flavor, it is not recommended for first-timers.
- The popular belief that you shouldn’t drink alcohol after eating durians is somewhat true
People frequently advise against drinking alcohol after eating durians because it can cause death. There may be some truth to this notorious belief, as a 2009 study by a group of scientists at the University of Tsukuba, Japan, found out.
The scientists found that aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH), the enzyme responsible for alcohol metabolism in our body, is impeded when a person eats durians.This means that drinking alcohol soon after eating durians can result in increased intoxication or death because the alcohol is not metabolized quickly by the body.