Durians: Understanding Their History and Uses

Durians, popularly known today for making durian coffee, are the “kings of fruits”. They are large in size, have strong odours and have thorn covered husks. Some people regard a durian fruit as one with pleasant fragrance while others think that its aroma is revolting and overpowering. Just like any other fruits, durians have a rich history. They also have a variety of uses, so here is a brief history and several uses of the fruit:

History

durian coffee

• The origin of durians can be traced to South Asia. Their history was documented by Niccolo Da Conti, who was the first European to travel to South Eastern Asia in the 15th Century.

• In 1741, Georg Eberhard Rumphius, provided more details of the fruits in his publication. The durian was described as a fruit with a complex taxonomy. There was confusion between the soursop and the durian because both were thorny green fruits.

• In the 16th century, the fruit was introduced in America, but only in botanical gardens.

• Since the 18th century, durians were cultivated by many people at the village level in SouthEast Asia. This was done until mid-20th century when their cultivation was commercialised.

• In 1949, J. H. Corner published the durian theory that gave a clearer explanation of the fruits.

• Since the early 1990s, its domestic and international demand has increased in Asia and it is widely grown in that continent.

Uses

Durians are used in many ways. These include:

• Today, durians are used to make rose biscuits, moon cakes, milkshakes, cappuccino, ice cream and Yule logs. They are used to make these products because of their sweet flavour. Durian ice cream is very popular in Indonesia and it is commonly sold on the Indonesia streets.

• Durian is also used in preparation of rice. This rice commonly known as ketan durian, is prepared by steaming rice with coconut milk and then served with durian. This is a popular Indonesia dish.

• These fruits are used in the preparation of pastry. Bollen Durian, as many people know it pastry which is filled with durian.

• Lower quality durian can be fermented to make something known as tempoyak. Tempoyak is normally eaten with rice and it can be served in either its cooked or uncooked state.

• In Thailand, this fruit can be eaten with sticky sweet rice, and is an alternative version of the mango sticky rice. Blocks of durian paste are also sold in the markets of this country.

• Durian can be minced with onions, vinegar and salt to make boder. This is done by Malaysians to make both salted and sugared preserves from the fruit.

• The seeds can be boiled, fried in coconut milk or roasted and then eaten. They can also be sliced into smaller pieces and then cooked with sugar.

• The young shoots and leaves of durians are cooked as greens. Their flowers’ petals are eaten while their husks are used to smoke fish.

• The nectars and pollens of durian flowers are collected by honeybees and used to make durian honey.

• Durian is also used to make our favourite beverage, which is known as durian coffee. This type of coffee has grown in popularity and many people prefer it to ordinary coffee.

It is expected that the usage of the fruit will increase in the coming years. If you want to start your day well, why not try a cup of durian coffee?

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