The comparison of jackfruit vs. durian has been a recurring topic due to the rising popularity of these two tropical fruits. They can be easily mistaken for one another, especially if you don’t see them often in their whole-fruit form.
This article is here to help you tell the two exotic fruits apart by providing information about their appearance, odor, taste, and other relevant data.
After reading this, you will be able to tell between jackfruit and durian within seconds when you encounter them at the store. You may even impress your friends and family with your extended knowledge. So stay tuned and read till the end!
Jackfruit And Durian – An Overview
Before bringing the two fruits together in a final showdown, let’s look at these two tropical fruits and learn more about their origins, habitats, appearances, and other information concerning them.
Jackfruit originally came from a region of Southern India (believed to date back to 5000 years ago), Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and the various rainforests of many Southeast Asian Countries. It is classified as a species in the fig, mulberry, and breadfruit family.
The name “jackfruit” comes from the word “chakka”, which became “jaca” in Portuguese when they arrived in India in 1499. The English name appeared in the physicist and naturalist Garcia de Orta’s book in 1563, possibly named after Scottish botanist William Jack.
Nowadays, jackfruit is cultivated in tropical regions around the world. A mature jack tree can yield up to 200 jackfruits per year or up to 500 for older trees. Jackfruit is recognizable for its bumpy rind and the sticky sap oozing out of the fruit.
Durian is associated with Southeast Asian cuisine and is often sold in the market of these countries when they are in season. This exotic fruit belongs to the genus Durio, with only the species of Durio zibethinus making an appearance in the international market.
This one species is native to the region of Borneo and Sumatra, but there are over 100 named varieties in Malaysia and more than 300 in Thailand.
The name “durian” is derived from “dūrī” (meaning “thorn” in Malay). Its name precisely describes the outside appearance of durian with thorny rind, which can be dangerous if mishandled.
Durian is referred to as the “king of fruits” in many places for its large size and thorn-covered rind. It is also a controversial fruit because many people enjoy its taste, while some are off-put by its overwhelming odor.
Jackfruit & Durian – The Similarity
These two tropical fruits don’t share much in common despite often being mistaken for one another. There are only a few similarities between the two of them.
Jackfruit and durian both grow in tropical regions on medium or large trees. These fruits are often distinguished as big-size fruits with unflattering appearances; they share the color green on their rinds and yellow flesh inside when they are ripe. Both have seeds hidden in the flesh.
Jackfruit Vs. Durian – The Differences
Jackfruit and durian have a lot of differentiating factors that can be used to tell them apart. This can be their appearance, scent, taste, and other differences concerning the agriculture aspect and commercial uses.
Though the two fruits are large, jackfruits are typically bigger than durian, with one specimen weighing 42 kilograms recorded by the Guinness World Record. On the other hand, an average durian can weigh 1 to 3 kilograms.
You can also tell if it is a durian by the look of the thorns. Durian has larger, spikier thorns that can threaten the handler, while jackfruits are pretty harmless with their bumpy, small-thorn rind.
Once you get through the thick rinds, you will see that each pocket of durian meat is bigger than those of a jackfruit. The inside of a jackfruit features a core that does not appear in a durian.
Taste And Odor
If you have tasted or smelled a durian before, you will be able to tell it from the crowd right away with your senses.
Both ripe jackfruit and durian are sweet, but durian’s meat is creamy and soft. The taste of durian was described as “a rich custard highly flavored with almonds” by a nineteen-century British naturalist.
Some people describe durian as having a pleasantly sweet fragrance, while others feel disgusted by the foul odor like that of rotten onions or raw sewage.
The aroma of jackfruit is less controversial because it is milder and can be appreciated by a larger audience base; its flesh is often gummy and chewy.
See how people react to their first time eating durian.
The differences between the two fruits also lie in their botanical composition. A typical jack tree can grow up to 66 feet (20 meters) in height, while a durian tree can be 165 feet (50 meters) tall. The jack tree also has a stick latex covering all of its surfaces, including the jackfruit, while the durian tree does not.
The flowers of each tree also differ. A jackfruit flower can be yellow or peach in color. On the other hand, a durian flower is often white or red. The jackfruit flowers grow directly from the trunk of the tree with upright petals, while durian flowers droop downward.
Though the two are both tropical fruit, they do have their own preferences in terms of climate and soil. Jackfruits prefer the humid lowlands of Southern India, while durian might want to grow in the rainforest of Borneo in Southeast Asia.
You will need rich soil to grow durian trees; on the other hand, jack trees can thrive as long as the soil is loamy and well-draining. They can also withstand heat up to 120 degrees Fahrenheit, whereas a durian tree prefers the optimal growing temperature of 75 to 86 degrees.
A jack tree can live up to a century under the right conditions, but a durian tree can last much longer than that, for two centuries or even more. However, durian can be harder to reproduce since they only have one large seed per pod, while jackfruit has a lot more seeds that can last longer.
To create fruit, a jack tree can pollinate on its own since it has both male and female flowers. It would take a jack tree 3 to 4 years to bear the first fruit, and it can give two crop seasons per year during the rainy season (July to August).
On the contrary, durian needs cross-pollination because the flowers on each tree are either male or female. They can take up to 10 years to give the first yield and can only be harvested once per year, from June to August.
As established in the previous section, durian is not as easy to grow and harvest as jackfruit. They are often grown on small-size farms alongside other trees, mostly in Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand.
On the other hand, jackfruit, because it can be grown more easily on a large scale, farming jackfruit is more profitable and consequently more widespread. Jackfruit farms can be spotted in tropical regions around the world.
Appearance On The Market
Jackfruit is more widely available on the market. In supermarkets, you can find whole jackfruits, packaged carpels, or canned green jackfruit. It is more popular than durian because it does not exude an odor as offensive as a durian.
Durian appears on the market shelves of many Southeast Asian countries like Thailand, Vietnam, and the neighboring regions. However, it is banned worldwide, on transportation, and in hotels for its overwhelming and long-lasting pungency.
These fruits are often sought after for their nutritional value and health benefits. Durian is rich in vitamins C and B, dietary fiber, and other nutritious minerals. It is good for high blood pressure treatment due to its low saturated fat content. (1)
Durian can be helpful in other health areas, such as fighting cancer, obesity, and heart disease. It can also improve sleep quality, digestion, anxiety, and depression.
Jackfruit contains many nutrients, such as vitamins A, E, C, B5, and B6. It is safe for diabetics and people with blood sugar imbalances. Ripe jackfruit is a great source of antioxidants, which can prevent the development of cancer, heart disease, cataract, and macular degradation. (2)
Discover more health benefits of durian.
Uses In Cooking
People can enjoy these fruits uncooked and cooked. However, jackfruit boasts a wider range of uses in cooking than durian. Young jackfruit is a perfect meat substitution for vegan dishes for its stringy texture. Ripe jackfruit is sweet and often put into salads or ice cream.
Durian receives many controversies for its taste and scent. When eaten uncooked, it is sweet, creamy, and custardy; however, not many can withstand the strong aroma. Durian is often blended into ice cream and other sweet treats.
Note: You can consume the seeds of durian and jackfruit after boiling them.
The Ultimate Comparison Table
This section will give you a concise comparison of the two fruits. If you miss any information from the previous parts, read this table carefully.
|Bumpy rind, small thorns
|Big, spiky thorns
|Medium to larger, often larger than a durian
|Medium to large, smaller than a typical jackfruit
|Green rind, yellow flesh when ripe
|Green rind, yellow flesh when ripe
|Taste & Texture
|Sweet (ripe), gummy, chewy
|Sweet (ripe), creamy, custardy
|Strong pungent, resembles the smell of rotten onions or raw sewage
|Tropical regions around the world, adapted to loamy and well-draining soils, can withstand heat up to 120 degrees Fahrenheit
|Tropical regions in Southeast Asia, must be grown on rich soil, and requires the optimal temperature between 75 - 86 degrees Fahrenheit
|Appearance On The Market
|Can be sold in cans, packages, or whole fruits
|Sold as whole fruits or as separated pulps in packages
|Often used as a replacement, featured as an ingredient in salads and ice cream
|Often eaten as it is, blended with ice cream or make into flavors of sweet treats
|Rich in antioxidants, vitamins A, E, C, B5 & B6.
|Rich in vitamins B and C, dietary fiber, low in saturated fat
The Ultimate Way To Select The Best Of Each Fruit
After knowing more about the differences between jackfruit and durian, you might be tempted to get to the store and try them out to fact-check. Before you go, equip yourself with the knowledge to select the best of each fruit.
If you are buying a whole jackfruit, look for a yellowish-green rind with some brown patches. This is an indicator of jackfruit’s ripeness and strong fragrance. An unripe jackfruit should have a dark green rind.
When selecting jackfruit that has been separated into carpels, pick the packages with perfectly yellow pulps (without any dark patches).
You need to watch out for these two indicators when selecting a fresh durian: the stem and the smell. A fresh durian will have a moist stem that is still light in color, while a durian that has been off the tree for too long will have a dark, dry stem.
Make sure to smell around the stem to check the aroma it exudes, the more pungent the odor, the fresher it is (Remember to shield your face from the thorns).
Learn the tips to pick the freshest durian the next time you go shopping for it.
Why Is Durian Banned In Many Places?
Despite its numerous nutritional benefits, durian is a controversial fruit and is banned in many places worldwide for its distinctive scent. Some might call it king; others will try to keep it as far away from their nostrils as possible.
The pungent odor of this fruit is particularly long-lasting and hard to remove. Therefore, it is often inhibited from hotels and public transportation. The Singapore Metro system will fine you $380 if you bring this forbidden fruit on the trains.
The aromatic factor of durian is a way to attract animals to eat the fruit, thereby spreading the seeds and increasing the ability of durian trees to reproduce.
If you catch your hand exuding this appalling odor after consuming the delectable flesh, you can use the husk or the fruit seeds to wash your hand with, which could neutralize the pungency.
There are still some more frequently asked questions that you might want to find the answer to. You can find them in this section of the article.
Jackfruit Or Durian – Which One Should You Try?
There is no reason for you to stick to one fruit and avoid another. Though durian might be off-putting to newcomers due to the smell, at least give the fruit a try. The durian odor might seem like hell, but the taste of it is heaven in disguise.
Once you have tasted for yourself the two fruits, make sure to come back to this article and comment below with your honest opinions about jackfruit and durian. Let me know if you change your mind about the “king of fruit” – durian.
If you find this article useful, feel free to share it with the people in your life who might need to know more about jackfruit and durian, their similarities, and their differences.
- Jennings, K., & Kubala, J. (2019, May 31). Durian Fruit: Smelly but Incredibly Nutritious. Healthline.
- Meacham, J., Cohut, M., & Kahleova, H. (n.d.). Jackfruit: Benefits and nutrition. Medical News Today.
Table of Contents
- Jackfruit And Durian – An Overview
- Jackfruit & Durian – The Similarity
- Jackfruit Vs. Durian – The Differences
- The Ultimate Way To Select The Best Of Each Fruit
- Why Is Durian Banned In Many Places?
- Jackfruit Or Durian – Which One Should You Try?