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Durian  Durio Zibenthinus

Considered the king of fruit in Thailand this fruit often tips the scales at 20 to 25 pounds.  With a spiky-shelled appearance the inner flesh is renowned for its aphrodisiac powers and is considered a delicacy in Asian countries.  The Durians from Thailand are considered to be the best in quality and bring the highest prices.  Apart from being costly, the durian tends to be an acquired taste.  A British adventurer to Siam in the 1800's described the experience of sampling durian as "a kin to eating herring or blue cheese over a sewer.

There are 200 different varieties but the most popular are the cha-nee or gibbon which has an irregular shape with golden yellow flesh; gahn-yao or "long stem" whoso globe shape contains firm, yellow flesh, and the Montong or yellow pillow which is elongated in shape and weighs 4 to 11 pounds.  The inner flesh is creamy and yellow in color.  These fruits are incased in  a thick, tough, greenish-brown shell covered with sharp pointed spikes and the flesh within contains one or two large seeds.  It is believed that the fewer the seeds the better the quality of the fruit.  It is said to be best a few days after ripening when it smells the strongest and it has a rich texture similar to custard.  Apart from being eaten raw it can be served with coconut milk or made into the form of a cake.  It can be used in a pureed form for flavoring ice-cream, mousse or cake.  It may also be preserved or candied.  The seeds, which are high in starch, protein and oil have a chestnut flavor and are roasted fried and boiled to be eaten as a snack.

Selecting and handling  pick a firm to the touch fruit that is ripe.  If the fruit is over ripe it will split open.  Store at room temperature for three to five days only, well away from other foods and preferably out side of your house.  To prepare split the fruit with a sharp knife lengthwise along two of the groves in the center to cut into the inch thick pith.  Pry apart the two sections with in and scoop out the flesh.

Season  May to August

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