It is that time of the year again - the Durian Season of Hulu Langat. I am very partial to these "original durians", those that have not been genetically modified or subjected to hormones and such. To me, part of the joy of eating these durians is the discovery of what the fruit is like and the great
taste. No matter how much we tamper with nature, I feel that what nature produces surpasses our intervention. I do not get bored eating them.
We have brought the durians to market at the Sg. Penchala Pasar Ramadhan this season and I am happy that we have a good response to our fruits. One of the questions that I was asked that I thought was interesting was: "Do you pick them from the tree when they are mature?". We do not pick them from the tree, we wait for them to fall off the tree. The best time to eat them is the day after it fell off the tree. We do not inject the trees to encourage fruiting either. I find it interesting that some people shake the durian in order to select the durian - apparently this is done when buying GM durians to see if the fruit have lots of flesh or more empty space. Original durians tend to be packed int he fruit so they do not move around in their "cocoon". The Hulu Langat durian season last for about 1 month and the best fruits are obtained from the second week, somehow the tree gets rid of the "not so good" fruits in the first few days.
Our durians do not have names like D24, C101 or the like - these are from GM durian trees. Our durians have names like durian kunyit, tembaga, telor buaya and api. The size and shape of the fruits are not the same from the same tree. The fruit taste varies from tree to tree, from sweet and creamy to sweet with a bite to it, and the flesh colour from creamy white to orange-yellow. It is an adventure.
With the abundance with durians, what do you do with them apart from eating them fresh? There are many options. You can make lempok durian, lemang durian, kuah durian, dodol durian, durian ice cream and durian cream which you can use as a filling for crepes. These are the sweet dishes. For savoury dishes, you can make tempoyak, which essentially is "fermented" durian that is used in gulai tempoyak and also sambal tempoyak.
For making tempoyak, you can use durians that are a few days old and those that have naturally "split" open. Just remove the flesh from the seeds and place them in a container and place in the refrigerator for a few days before you start using them to make your savoury dishes. It can keep for a couple of months.
If you find a particular fruit that you love the flavour but just cannot eat them all, just remove the flesh with or without the seed and place them in the freezer. It can last for months and you can just remove it from the freezer and allow it to defrost before eating them. So, let us enjoy this wondrous fruit during this season :)