I like to eat local, in season fruit as much as possible, but the offerings in my climate this time of year leave lots to be desired. I'm sorry, Colorado, but your apples and pears (which aren't even grown here, and have been supplemented with so many Ecuadorian bananas) have really begun to bore me. In times like this, I need a quick fix of tropical fruit before returning to the stupor of Winter produce.
Enter, the durian.
There's no neutrality when it comes to this fruit; everyone who's heard of the spiky monster either loves or hates it. I belong to the former category, and am undaunted by stories of its bearers being banned from public transport, or insistence that its odor is miraculously disgusting. And it is. To me, durian smells like garlic and feet, but sweet. That aside, it's really delicious, with a custardy texture and rich flavor. It's purported to have aphrodesiac qualities, but I wouldn't know; my Mr. won't come near after I've eaten the stuff. In Malaysia, there are all-you-can-eat durian stalls, where for $5 US, you can indulge in enough of the fruit to make you reek for days. I'm saving up for a plane ticket.
To cure my durian craving, I visited a larger Asian market in Denver. I've never seen fresh durian this far inland, but whole frozen durian is usually available, and the quality isn't compromised much. In addition to 2 durians, I found young Thai coconuts for about $1 each. I bought 13 of them.
I immediately cracked open and drank a young coconut, then cut its flesh into thin noodles. Tossed with fresh tomatoes, cilantro, basil, and lime juice, it was just as refreshing as the coconut water.
And some other treats. Clockwise from bottom: miniature bananas, cherimoya, winter melon, young coconut, papaya, mango, more cherimoya, and longan.
The bananas were so dense and creamy, eating them felt like biting into a stick of butter. Too heavy for everyday tastes, but really nice in smoothies.
Cherimoya is my very favorite fruit, with a flavor akin to lemon custard and the appearance of lizard skin. I remember eating it for the first time when I was 10, and being stunned--with my diet of hot pockets and ice cream--that fruit could be so delicious. They're just lovely.
Here's jackfruit, which I found fresh and trimmed. The mildly sweet fruit has a stringy texture, and can be spiced and made into a delicious taco filling.
Back to the durian. Cut open, they look like this. There are large sections of creamy fruit within the shell, each of which has a seed.
After some yoga, it was all I wanted. But this one didn't know what to make of it at first.
Then she dug into it, and we were durian maniacs!
And later, mounds of durian, looking (and tasting) very much like ice cream.
Good fruit always cheers me up, and was the perfect brightener for this dreary day. Off to thaw my second durian for tomorrow...