It was a matter of time before I’d have to face the formidable durian and experience its spiky, stinky glory.
Native to southeast Asia, the durian is either loved or hated for its unique aroma and flavor. Because of its aroma, the fruit is banned from some hotels and public transportation in Asia. You either love this fruit or you hate it.
If you can get by the smell (which can be a mix of sulfur and dirty gym socks), you will be delighted (or repulsed!) by a vanilla-almond custard-like flavor.
How To Use Durian In A Smoothie
Durian is an excellent base for a smoothie and its texture is similar to custard or yogurt. It is a perfect vegan alternative for non-dairy milkshakes and ultra-creamy smoothies. You can also freeze it to make durian ice cream or other sweet dishes.
It is a calorie-dense fruit with 357 calories and 13 grams of healthy fat in just one cup. A durian usually yields about 3 cups of edible fruit. It is a great source of calories on a raw food diet and can be used for concentrated meal-replacement smoothies when you don’t want to drink an entire pitcher full. I typically use one cup of durian when I am making smoothie recipe for just myself.
Because of its vanilla-almond flavor, durian blends well with banana which helps thicken it up. Durian is excellent when blended with spices like ginger, cinnamon, clove or nutmeg. Spices mingle with the vanilla flavor tones while masking the infamous funkiness of durian. Cacao is a wonderful companion to durian but will also make for a high-fat smoothie, which is not necessarily a bad thing at all. Add a dash of cayenne pepper to a cacao-durian smoothie for a chocolate smoothie with a kick!
I don’t like to blend durian with sweet fruit like pineapple, mango or oranges. You might be tempted to blend it with other tropical flavors, but I don’t think the durian flavor mixes well with citrus or most sweet fruits. My preference is to maintain the vanilla-like dominance and off-set the overall flavor with one to two spices, and sweeten the blend with a ripe banana. You can’t go wrong with that blend!
You can blend young, Thai coconut with durian which is excellent! Use coconut water for smoothie recipes to add a hint of sweet coconut to the mix.
If you wish to use durian in a green smoothie, I recommend choosing mild-flavored greens like fresh baby spinach. Durian does have a delicate flavor and bitter greens might be unpleasant. I consider durian a dessert fruit best enjoyed by itself or with complementary flavors. Save the greens for smoothies with sweet, flavorful fruit.
Durian Nutrition and Health Benefits
Durian provides an excellent source of calories and fat for meal-replacement smoothies. Just one cup of the fruit contains approximately 357 calories and 13 grams of healthy fat. It is a rich source of fiber (9 grams) and provides plenty of carbohydrates (65.8 grams) for energy. It is also a good source of the amino acid, tryptophan, which is an important nutrient required for regulating mood and sleep. Durian contains B-vitamins and vitamin C as well as minerals such as copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium and zinc.
Durian Smoothie Recipes
- 1 cup durian
- 1 whole banana, peeled
- 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- a squeeze of lemon juice
- 8 ounces of water
Add all ingredients and then blend on high until creamy and thoroughly mixed. Add additional lemon and/or ginger to taste, if desired.
Calories: 471 | Fat: 13g (grams) | Protein: 5g | Carbs: 74g | Vitamin A: 6% | Folate: 28% | B1 (Thiamine): 79% | B2 (Riboflavin): 44% | B3 (Niacin): 22% | B5 (Pantothenic Acid): 19% | B6 (Pyridoxine): 93% | Vitamin C: 68% | Calcium: 5% | Copper: 68% | Iron: 20% | Magnesium: 27% | Manganese: 68% | Phosphorus: 18% | Potassium: 32% | Zinc: 8%
- 1 cup durian
- 1 ounce cacao powder (more to taste, if desired)
- 1 whole banana, peeled
- 8 ounces of water
- dash of nutmeg or cayenne pepper (optional)
Add all ingredients and then blend on high until creamy and thoroughly mixed. Add additional seasonings to taste.
Calories: 633 | Fat: 26g (grams) | Protein: 8g | Carbs: 100g | Vitamin A: 6% | Folate: 28% | B1 (Thiamine): 79% | B2 (Riboflavin): 44% | B3 (Niacin): 21% | B5 (Pantothenic Acid): 19% | B6 (Pyridoxine): 92% | Vitamin C: 86% | Calcium: 2% | Copper: 66% | Iron: 331% | Magnesium: 50% | Manganese: 48% | Phosphorus: 17% | Potassium: 32% | Zinc: 8%
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How To Select and Store Durian (And How To Cut Into It)
While it grows in the tropics, durian is a seasonal fruit and is available fresh from June through August. Outside of southeast Asia, you will need to visit your local Asian market to find them. If you can’t find fresh durian, or they are not in season, you can still find it readily available in the frozen section as either pre-packaged “pods” or whole, frozen durians.
I recently purchased a whole, frozen durian as it was out of season. It was a better deal than pre-packaged fruit that was selling for the same price. I got almost twice as much fruit by taking on the delicate and somewhat hazardous work of cutting the spiny fruit open myself. I thawed it in the refrigerator for about a day and a half before cutting it open with a large knife.
When cutting into a whole durian, wear gloves! It’s pretty easy to get a large chefs knife through the spiky peel, but then you have to reach in and pry it apart. The spines are sharp, so be careful.
When selecting fresh durian, the recommended method for getting a good fruit is to carefully hold it up to your ear and give it a gentle shake. Use a cloth or wear gloves to protect your hands from the spikes (and don’t stab yourself in the ear!).
What you want to hear is a dull thump which indicates that the edible portions inside are soft and ripe. Of course, if you are buying a frozen durian, this method may not work and you’ll just have to trust that it’s good. For more tips on selecting, opening and storing durian, click here.
Durian can be kept in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to two days or stored in the freezer for up to two months. It probably wont last long anyway when you discover how delicious and nutritious it is in your smoothies!
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Tracy Russell is the creator of the Green Smoothie Weight Loss Program, the 30-Day Whole Foods Challenge and founder of Incredible Smoothies. She is passionate about helping people improve their health with green smoothies and a whole foods lifestyle.