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Malika durians are large fruits, averaging 20 to 23 centimeters in length, and have an oval to oblong shape. The skin is firm, highly aromatic, ranges in color from brown, yellow, to green, and is covered in pointed, angular spikes. Underneath the sharp surface, there is a white, dense, and spongy layer encasing a chamber filled with 6 to 10 seeds. The seeds are surrounded by a bright yellow, soft, and tender flesh. Malika durians are known for their buttery, smooth consistency and are sweet with subtle bitter notes.
Malika durians are available in the late fall through the winter in Java.
Malika durians are a rare variety found in Java that belongs to the Malvaceae family. The fruits are known for their smooth, sweet flavor and are a local variety, harvested from one, original tree found in grower Pak Muali’s garden. Mr. Muali inherited the tree from his parents, which has been passed down from generation to generation and named the fruit after his wife. Malika durians are highly favored for their unique, sweet, and bitter taste, and as word spread across Indonesia of the variety’s scarcity, the fruit has attracted visitors from all over the world in search of trying the unusually flavored flesh.
Malika durians contain fiber, which can help regulate digestion, and potassium, copper, iron, and magnesium. The fruits also contain vitamin C, which is an antioxidant that can boost the immune system and provides some folic acid, zinc, and phosphorus.
Malika durians are best suited for raw applications as their unique, sweet, and bitter flavor is showcased when consumed fresh, out-of-hand. In markets, durians are sold whole, or they are cut open, and the seeds and flesh are packaged in clear plastic. The flesh can be eaten as a snack, blended into smoothies, milkshakes, and juices, mixed with salted pastes, or combined with ice cream. The flesh can also be used to flavor desserts, cakes, and jams, cooked into sticky rice, or tossed into soups, curries, and sauces. When choosing a durian, first check its stalk, which should not be too dry, and it should also smell fresh, rather than overly rich. The fruit can also be tapped with a knife, and if it makes a specific sound, it signifies ripe flesh. Malika durians pair well with other tropical fruits such as strawberry, kiwi, coconut, and mango, basil, meats such as poultry and fish, vanilla, and condensed milk. Once opened, the flesh of the fruit should be consumed immediately or within twenty-four hours for the best flavor. If the fruit is unopened, it will keep for 1-2 weeks, depending on the degree of ripeness, when stored at room temperature.
In Semarang, Java, annual durian festivals are held across the city to celebrate the pungent fruit. Many of the festivals feature live entertainment, parades, food vendors, and local art exhibitions. During the festivals, visitors can try unique varieties of durian, and the celebrations are used to promote tourism into Semarang. There is even an all-you-can-eat durian contest where participants attempt to consume as much durian as possible in a limited time period. On average, participants consume between two to four durians, but one of the current record holders was able to consume eight durians in eighteen minutes.
Malika durians are native to Gunungpati in Semarang, Central Java. The variety is believed to have one mother tree, located in the garden of Mr. Muali, and this is the only place where the tree can be found growing naturally. Today Malika durians are still grown by Mr. Muali and are sold at local fruit stalls in the Kandri village. Mr. Muali also cultivates small Malika durian seedlings for sale for home gardeners to plant the durian variety in their backyards.