by Erin Marissa Russell
Have you ever wondered what the difference is between durian and jackfruit, or if there even is a difference? It’s a common myth that jackfruit and durian are actually one and the same, when in reality the two fruits are quite different. Jackfruit and durian are both tropical fruits that are unfamiliar to many of us in the Western world. The jackfruit is a relative of figs and mulberries, a member of the Morocae family, while durian is more closely related to the mallows as a member of the family Malvacae. Keep reading to find out more about how jackfruit and durian compare to one another.
Jackfruit Versus Durian: Botany
- Both jackfruit and durian grow on trees.
- Durian trees are taller than jackfruit trees and can stretch up to 150 feet tall, while the jackfruit tree may reach up to 80 feet at its largest.
- While jackfruits grow on the tree trunk or clustered near it, durians emerge from along the branches of their trees instead.
- The jackfruit tree is native to the western portion of the Ghats Mountains in southern India, while durian trees are believed to come from Sumatra and Borneo.
- On average, a jackfruit tree produces 10 to 200 jackfruits per year, while the durian tree generates between 15 and 800 durians each year.
Jackfruit Versus Durian: Appearance
- While both these two fruits are large compared to others in the fruit category, jackfruit is larger than durian and is actually the largest of the tree fruits. Jackfruit can grow to reach a staggering three feet long and can weigh up to 110 pounds, while durian tops out at 30 pounds.
- The outside of the durian is covered in formidable spikes, while the texture of the jackfruit’s skin is not as spiny and can be better described as pebbled or bumpy. Jackfruit skin is sometimes compared to the skin of an alligator.
- Both fruits have the same oblong or oval shape, but durian tends to be a bit rounder than jackfruit.
- The edible flesh of durian can be buttery yellow, pink, red, or white, while the flesh of the jackfruit is paler yellow, similar to the flesh of a banana.
- The durian’s interior is divided into five fruit pods, each of which neatly holds a portion of edible flesh. The flesh contains its round seeds, which are not edible. When a jackfruit is cut open, you’ll see several bulb shapes, each of which holds an inch-long oval seed surrounded by edible fruit.
Jackfruit Versus Durian: Flavor
- Jackfruit is sweet and has a flavor all its own, but the closest way to describe it is as a mixture of the flavors of apple, banana, mango, and pineapple. Ripe jackfruit is sometimes compared to the taste of Juicy Fruit gum.
- The durian is not only sweet but has savory notes as well, and it can be a bit salty. The taste of durian has been compared to that of scrambled eggs, sweet cheese, or a mixture of garlic and caramel, with a creamy base flavor. Unripe durian tastes more like chicken, making it useful in vegetarian dishes.
- Jackfruit has a stringy, rubbery texture similar to mango or pineapple because the edible portion actually consists of up to thousands of individual sunny yellow blossoms. Jackfruit also tends to get gummy when ripe, whereas durian is smoother and creamier, less juicy than the jackfruit and sometimes described as similar to custard. However, the skin surrounding each fruit pod is crispy in contrast.
- Seeds of the jackfruit are edible and have a taste close to the flavor of almonds or sunflower seeds when raw.
Jackfruit Versus Durian: Scent
- Both jackfruit and durian have smells that can be considered strong or pungent, although the smells are of different types.
- The scent of durian can evacuate a building and has been compared to smelly socks, sewage, onions, rotten eggs, or turpentine. One of the more flattering descriptions of durian’s aroma compares it to a stronger version of almonds.
- The smell of durian is so disagreeable to many noses that the fruits are banned from some public transport systems in Asia. In some places, it’s forbidden to eat durian in public at all. It’s common for people to prepare or eat durian outside so the scent won’t linger in their homes. Jackfruit is occasionally banned from public consumption in certain areas, too, though its smell is not nearly as strong as that of durian.
- Jackfruit doesn’t have the savory or traditionally stinky undertones that durian can, but some people find the smell unpleasant because it can be cloyingly sweet. It’s described as similar to bubble gum mixed with banana or pineapple, with a side of rotten onion.
Jackfruit Versus Durian: Nutrition
- Both jackfruit and durian contain the nutrients copper, folate, manganese, magnesium, niacin, potassium, riboflavin, thiamin, and Vitamin A, B6, and C.
- Jackfruit boosts the body’s ability to resist infection thanks to its vitamin C content. Jackfruit has also been shown in a study from the Sydney University Glycemic Research Service to benefit diabetics when it’s eaten in moderation. The low calorie content of jackfruit means that substituting it for more calorie-rich foods will make for a lower calorie meal for those who want to lose weight. Jackfruit seeds can be used as a laxative. The fruit also has the benefits of being anti-inflammatory, antifungal, and antimicrobial.
- The insoluble fiber that durian contains helps the digestive process, and like jackfruit, it also works to balance the release of insulin. The potassium in durian also aids blood pressure and heart rate regulation. Durian also contains the amino acid tryptophan, making it a gentle sleep aid, headache remedy, and helping to balance nervous energy. Like the seeds of jackfruit, the flesh of durian functions as a laxative.
- Both fruits have no cholesterol and are beneficial to the health of skin, reducing the appearance of age spots and wrinkles. Both jackfruit and durian also fight against free radicals, which can harm healthy cells.
- Durian is more dense in calories. A cup of durian contains 357 calories, while a cup of jackfruit contains only 157 calories.
- Durian contains more fat than jackfruit at 13 grams per cup. Jackfruit has only one gram of fat per cup, mainly coming from omega-3 or omega-6 fatty acids.
- Durian has more protein, with four grams per cup, as compared to jackfruit’s three grams per cup.
- Durian contains a bit more sugar than jackfruit. While jackfruit has 31 grams of sugar in each cup, the same measurement of durian has 40 grams of sugar.
- Durian holds more potassium than jackfruit, with 1059 grams of potassium in each cup. Jackfruit has 739 grams of potassium per cup.
- Durian has twice as much dietary fiber as jackfruit, with durian containing four grams of dietary fiber while jackfruit contains only two grams.
- Jackfruit contains six percent of the recommended daily value of vitamin A, which is missing from durian.
- Jackfruit has 11 percent of the recommended daily amount of vitamin C, but durian contains a much more substantial 44 percent.
- While jackfruit contains five percent of a person’s recommended daily intake of vitamin B6, durian contains 16 percent.
- The seeds of jackfruit are considered a healthy snack because they contain calcium, fiber, potassium, and sodium.
Jackfruit Versus Durian: Uses
- Both jackfruit and durian can be enjoyed raw or in ice cream. Jackfruit is often eaten cooked as imitation pulled pork or in other vegetarian dishes, and cooked durian may be used in boba tea, baked goods or curries.
- The following dishes frequently include jackfruit: burgers, cake, chili, chips, curry, fruit leather, ice cream, jellies, pickles, tacos, and wines. The seeds taste chocolatey when boiled, steamed, or roasted.
- Durian is often consumed as part of these dishes: boba, cake, candy, cappuccino, curry, ice cream, milkshakes, salad, and souffle.
Depending on where in the world you live, these fruits may come along with a hefty price tag. At gourmet or specialty grocers, you may pay in the range of $15 for a durian or $2 per pound for jackfruit. This expense is because the fruits must be imported from the areas they are indigenous to, and because demand for jackfruit and durian is low, so they must be ordered in small amounts. If you want to try one of these tropical fruits for yourself, the most economical way to get your hands on them is likely to visit your local Asian grocer.