Jul 6, 2023
Durian is the fruit that you either love or hate. Some say it’s an acquired taste, and that is true. But for those who love the fruit, it’s a flavor they can’t get enough of. So what is durian, and can freeze-dried durian be any different? Here’s a look at this fantastic fruit, where to buy it freeze-dried, and how to freeze-dry it.
Durian is a tropical fruit dubbed the “king of fruits.” The fruit has larger spikes compared to jackfruit but has a stronger odor that’s pungent and fetid. Others salivate over the smell, while others gag. For some, the smell is like opening a bag of rotten onions, garlic, or used gym socks. The scent is so strong that it’s even banned in several public areas.
Researchers found the fruit’s potent smell is because of an enzyme. As the fruit ripens, it releases a plant-specific enzyme that frees the odorant from the amino acid ethionine. As a result, the more the fruit ripens, the more concentrated ethionine becomes, as well as the ethanol.
Still, despite its smell, many are fond of its creamy, custardy aril. The problem is that the odor is so strong it can linger in the area for days. Other than that, it spoils quickly, so it’s hard to transport from Asia to the US. So, how will you get to taste the fruit? You can get them in Asian grocery stores or international markets. You have a higher chance of getting one if there’s a significant Asian population in the area.
Preparing durian for freeze-drying is almost the same as with jackfruit. Be careful, though. Those spikes are sharp, hard, and painful. Wear protective gloves if you have to, but they will get the durian smell for days. To process a ripe durian:
Pre-freezing is an option and can certainly help take out time from your process. However, we said it once, and we’ll say it again. The smell will spread throughout your freezer, so make sure to contain the durian for freezing. Put the arils in Ziplock bags to keep the odor in. Use large ones to lay out the arils flat for easier processing later. You can double-bag or put them in an airtight container for added measure.
To keep the durian smell from tainting the next batch, do this as the last batch before changing oil.
Usually, it takes about 26-35 hours to freeze-dry durian. You’ll know it’s ready when you get dry, airy, light bits of fruit on the tray. Return the trays for 2-3 hours of extra dry time if any piece feels soft.
There are several ways to clean your freeze-dryer out of the smell.
One is you remove the shelf and use a mix of dishwashing liquid and baking soda to clean it.
Another method is wiping the entire chamber with distilled white vinegar using a paper towel. The towel shouldn’t be dripping wet, just moist enough to help you apply vinegar throughout the chamber. Afterward, you can wipe the vinegar off with a moist, clean towel and put a small tub of charcoal inside the chamber. This will help absorb the odor.
Finally, replace the oil from your oil pump. Most of the smell will also come from there. A few videos on YouTube can help you open the pump to clean it thoroughly.
However, we understand if you don’t want to risk stinking up your machine. So here are some brands that offer freeze-dried durian that you can check out.
The Fruit King (Monthong Chunk) is a popular freeze-dried durian fruit brand. You get the freeze-dried fruit in a resealable bag that has a net weight of 3.53 ounces. It’s 100% natural and contains no cholesterol, artificial flavor, or added preservatives.
You can buy this on Amazon and get it delivered to your doorstep in 10-20 business days. It takes that long because the product ships from Thailand. Indeed a long wait, but if you love durian, this might be worth waiting for.
One customer said this was better priced than the ones bought in Costco and even sweeter. One fell in love with this brand. He previously tried frozen and fresh ones and said this was a good go-to when you couldn’t find fresh or frozen ones in your area.
Another customer got used to eating this while staying in China. When she got home to the U.S., she missed the stinky fruit. She gambled on getting two bags and didn’t regret her decision. The freeze-dried durian tasted as good and smelled almost as pungent.
On the other hand, some said King Fruit didn’t work out for them. If you’re sensitive to durian smell and flavor, this will still have the same effect on you. Also, if you prefer fresh durian’s silky, soft texture, the dry, crumbly texture will turn you off.
Lungcha offers freeze-dried durian sourced from Thailand. It’s 100% natural, with no sugar and preservatives added. A bag has a net weight of 1.75 oz, and usually comes in a pack of 2.
One customer wanted a taste of durian but was anxious about the smell. So when she ordered this, she described the scent as close to onion dip. It’s very sweet and kind of sticks to your teeth. Coming from someone with a keen sense of smell, this is interesting for her.
The pack may be a touch expensive, but someone said the purchase was well worth it. He was surprised at how well the snack tasted. Another said this is her way of getting her durian fix without using half of her paycheck on gas and fruit. The complex flavor and smell that she’s addicted to are still there.
Those who aren’t a fan don’t like the taste. Someone described it as a banana fused with an apple and a very stale peach. The flavor stuck in his mouth for an hour, which she didn’t like one bit.
Durian is the only fruit that’s capable of dividing friends of the family. Bring it into the room, and you’ll see only two groups of people: one that loves it to death and one that loathes the mere sight of it.
Freeze-drying does help tone down the smell but can still be overpowering for some. It’s really all about your taste preference. It’s easy to freeze-dry your own, but only if you’re brave enough to risk the smell sticking to your machine. Cleanup and pump maintenance is a must after doing a batch.
There are some brands that offer freeze-dried durian to make your life easier. They can be your go-to when fresh durian is unavailable and you just want a quick fix. They may be costly, but less expensive compared to buying fresh fruit.
Would you rather freeze-dry durian or buy one? Let us know in the comment section.
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