Durian season starts from May and is expected to last till late October this year so let’s brush up on our durian knowledge.
Durian season is upon us again.
What’s more exciting for us here is that this year, durians are coming in plenty, cheap, and for a much longer period!
Some of the common types of durian in Malaysia are Musang King (Mao Shan Wang), Black Thorn, D24, Red Prawn, Black Pearl, XO, Golden Pheonix, Tekka, Hor Lor, IOI, Kampung and many more. These durians differ according to taste, appearance, and ultimately price. They bloom in different seasons too so you can find Musang King usually at the end of the season and Kampung ones in the early season.
What makes this year different?
Since China is saying that they’re no longer importing large amounts of durian from us (they apparently have their own durian now), well that just means more durian for us!
Usually, durian season starts in states in this order; Penang, Johor, Perak, Pahang, Kelantan, Terengganu, Sabah and finally Sarawak, as reported by Majoriti.
In addition, since El Nino is upon us, durian season is getting longer than previous seasons which were only about 3 – 4 months.
5 tips to get the best durian:
With all the durian available this season, here are a few tips on how to choose your own durian. You might find these handy tto avoid being duped by sellers.
Usually, durian sellers will tap or knock the fruit with a knife to show if the fruit is ripe or not.
According to Golden Moments, if a fruit is ripe, it should sound like hitting a drum as the fruit is hollow with gaps of air inside the fruit.
If the fruit is unripe, it won’t produce a loud sound as the soft flesh still sticks to the walls of the chamber. It’ll just sound like you’re tapping a tree or concrete. Another indication of why they don’t have a sound is they may be overripe and the sticky decomposing flesh is already sticking to the walls.
Find durians that are lighter but still within the normal durian weight. The logic is, the bigger the fruit, the bigger the seeds might be, hence the thinner the flesh. So if you’re confused between two fruits, opt for a lighter durian.
According to Charles Pua, a durian seller in Singapore, the optimum weight for a durian should be 1.5 kg to 2 kg. Those bigger than that can have bigger flesh but the flavours are not the best.
The ones with short and thick stems are usually the ones with thicker flesh. The ones with a longer stem usually have bigger seeds with thinner flesh.
But that is also not always the case. For example, according to Year Of Durian, Musang Kings generally have longer stems and D24 generally have shorter stems. Furthermore, sellers can just cut the stems to make them all short. So you can’t really tell which is which.
But you can tell if a durian is fresh or not by the stem scratch test. Pua also mentions that if you scratch the stem with your fingers gently and it reveals a leafy-green and fleshy interior, then that’s an indication that the durian had fallen off the trees in the last 24 hours.
A darker and harder stem means that they’re harvested much earlier. He also said to do the scratch test yourself because if the seller does it, they’ll use their knives, and that defeats the purpose.
Do a sniff test at the top of the durian near the crown and at the bottom too where the seams are. The fruitlets ripe from the bottom to the top, according to Durianed, so you have to check for both. The top part has a thinner husk compared to the bottom, so it can emit a stronger smell there.
For the smell, Pua said that if the scent is fresh like green leaves, then the flesh is sweet. If there’s a pungent smell, then it could have some bitter notes to it.
Meanwhile, Durianed also mentioned that if there is no aroma, the durian is unripe. If the aroma is too strong, the durian is probably overripe.
Usually, people advise buying a round durian because they have more chambers and flesh-covered seeds than an oddly shaped one.
So other than the round shape, some tips to avoid picking durians with minimal flesh is to look at the seams on the husk.
As explained by @abgpotai, a durian seller, when you look at the bottom of the fruit, a full durian would have the shape of a star. You then trace the star points upwards. This is called the seams. Each section between the seams should bulge nicely. If there are flat sections, that means lesser flesh inside.
So, if you’re going for more flesh then yes, pick a round one.
Nevertheless, different kinds of durian have different shapes and sizes so not all round durians are the best. For instance, most Musang Kings are oval-shaped and most Red Prawns are rugby-shaped.
As Durianed explains, with fewer chambers, oddly shaped durian (slightly curved or crescent shapes), can have a more intense flavour with a meatier and creamier texture. Smaller ones have a stronger taste so if you’re going for taste, then pick an oddly shaped one or a smaller one.
So, now that you know some tips about picking durians, it’s durian hunting time! But also be well aware of their prices right now.
During this time, the prices for Musang King dropped from RM40 – RM45 per kg last year to RM20 – RM35 per kg. If the grades are higher, then they can cost up to RM50 per kg (the previous year up to RM70).
IOI also dropped from RM25 – RM35 per kg compared to RM15 – RM25 now. But this depends on the grade as well. Durian kampung is now also sold at RM10 per kg compared to RM20 before.
So be aware of the prices with which grade of durian you’re buying.
All in all, make sure that you get what you’re paying for with our tips above!