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Duku fruits are small to medium in size, averaging 3-7 centimeters in diameter, and are round to slightly oval in shape, growing in large clusters of approximately ten fruits. The thick rind is hard, leathery, and tan to pale yellow, developing brown spots and blemishes as the fruit matures. The rind is also covered in fine hairs giving the fruit a fuzzy appearance. Underneath the surface, there is a white, spongy, and very bitter layer that is easily separated and peeled, and the flesh is thick, translucent-white, and is typically divided into 1-5 segments. These segments are juicy, tender, and soft with a texture similar to grapes, and the flesh may be seedless or contain a few bitter seeds. Duku fruits are very sour when young, but as they mature, the fruits develop a sweet-tart flavor with light acidity, reminiscent of grapefruit and pomelo.
Duku fruits are available year-round in Southeast Asia, with a peak season in the fall through early winter.
Duku, botanically classified as Lansium domesticum, are tropical fruits that grow in grape-like clusters on trees that can reach over thirty meters in height and belong to the Meliaceae or mahogany family. Within the genus Lansium, there are very similar species that all grow in the humid, tropical regions of Asia and Southeast Asia and are often mistaken for Duku. There is some debate on whether Langsat and Duku are different species, with some cultures classifying them as the same, but the two fruits do vary in appearance and flavor. Duku is found growing in the wild and has recently increased in popularity as a snack fruit, valued for its sweet-tart flavor, and is being commercially grown on a small scale for domestic sales at night markets and local fruit stands in Southeast Asia.
Duku is an excellent source of vitamins A, B, C, and E, fiber, and also contains some iron, phosphorus, potassium, and calcium.
Duku is best suited for raw applications as its sweet and tangy flavor is showcased when consumed fresh, out-of-hand. The rind is easily peeled and removed from the flesh, and the segments can be consumed whole, discarding the small bitter seed. Duku can be served as a snack or as a fresh dessert. It is also commonly segmented and mixed into fruit salads, green salads, juiced or blended into fruit drinks, or coated in syrups for a sweeter flavor to add to ice cream, desserts, and pastries. In addition to fresh preparations, Duku can be combined into sauces, jams, and jellies for a sweet-tart preserve. Duku pairs well with other tropical fruits such as snake fruit, lychee, and rambutan, mint, basil, and cilantro. The fruits will keep for 3-4 days at room temperature and up to one week when stored in the refrigerator.
On the island of Camiguin in the Philippines, the festival Camiguin Lanzones is held every October to celebrate the annual fruit harvest. At the four-day festival, there are fruit samplings, dance performances, beauty pageants, and live entertainment to celebrate the fruits of the Lansium genus and it is also a way for the locals to celebrate their legacies and history. In addition to consumption, fruits such as Duku are favored by locals for their medicinal properties. Believed to help reduce symptoms associated with gastrointestinal issues, the seeds of the fruit are made into a paste and consumed. This paste is also thought to help reduce symptoms of fevers and colds, and the dried fruit peels are commonly burned as a fragrance to help repel mosquitos.
Duku fruits are native to Southeast Asia and have been growing wild since ancient times. The fruits were then spread to Asia and Central America via trade routes and arrived in Hawaii around 1930. Today the fruit is cultivated on a small scale in Malaysia, Thailand, India, the Philippines, and Indonesia, and is available at local markets in regions across Asia, Southeast Asia, Central America, and Hawaii.
Recipes that include Duku Fruit. One is easiest, three is harder.
|YouTube||How to Open and Eat Duku Fruit|
|IB HQ Singapore||Langsat (Duku) Cocktail|