What Are Burnt Seeds And Are Such Durians Safe To Eat
Potatoes by the way, is a community jargon for unripe durian flesh.
Sometimes we can find unusual secrets hidden under the husk such as empty pods or even central pods right in the core of the fruit.
Another bemusing find that you would run into are burnt seeds.
A burnt seed is basically a term used to describe fruitlets with black brown markings on the seed as if it was held to a camp fire like a skewer of marshmallow.
In Chinese, this is a characteristic known as 火烧子 which literally translates to fire burning seed.
For rookies new to durians this condition can sometimes be perceived as a worm infestation. But this is actually an organic growth gone wrong somewhere along the timeline of durian fruit development.
It didn’t come from someone smoking at the storage house, it doesn’t mean that the farm was on fire when harvesting, and it definitely doesn’t mean that someone lighted the aril like a cigarette in a comedy skit.
Let’s first answer the most important question.
Are durians with burnt seeds safe to eat?
I don’t have the scientific answer to the question. But the farmers and sellers that I have spoken to generally agree that such durians are safe to consume. Anyway, the area around the burned area tends to be unripe. And you wouldn’t want to eat that part regardless.
But if you have run into such durians before, you’d find that the other seemingly unaffected parts would usually taste like how it’s supposed to taste.
I would add that when you peel off the burnt part on the seed, it kind of feels therapeutic.
Nevertheless, if you don’t like what you see when getting durians at a stall, ask for a replacement. Burnt seed is a defect just like unripe durians.
So that’s the most life-changing question answered. If you would like to learn more about burned seeds, read on.
The burnt seed syndrome is sometimes also known as aril tip burn. But the latter is actually a term that describes the burnt area being on the aril. In any case, the cause is generally the same and grouped together.
There was a huge problem of this nature to the musang king harvest as recently as in 2020.
While there is no extensive scientific research into this cultivation problem, farmers would generally point their fingers to the cause being a nutrition issue.
And it is during the period of stage 3 in the durian development process where the fruit is most vulnerable to burnt seeds.
This is the stage where the fruitlets start to mature. And an inconsistent flow of nutrition can cause burnt seeds or aril tip burn.
This lack of nutrients induce a quicker oxidation process during maturity. Resulting in the appearance of the burn marks. And this in turn can be a prelude of a bad harvest.
Which is why farmers who know their stuff would usually take immediate action on not just the tree that produced such a fruit, but also the whole lot around it.
Swift action might just save the harvest from catastrophe.
A durian tree that is deprived of nutrients can signal the same condition for other trees as they are all cared for together. Most probably using the same irrigation as well.
Bear in mind that a problem with nutrition does not necessarily mean that there is a lack of it. It can also mean too much of it.
The durian tree plants don’t plan their diet like a fitness freak. They pretty much absorb whatever they are given and whatever amount they are able to. This is because they store their “food” whenever possible so as to retain the capability to survive during tough times.
When the weather is too dry, the tree might not have enough water to send nutrients to all parts of the tree including the fruits. And when there is extended rain, rainwater can wash away the goodness contained in the fertilizers. Preventing the trees from feasting on them.
Young trees are more vulnerable to burnt seeds compared to old trees because the older ones have stored more backup nutrients in the past to manage such fertilizing outages.
Leaf flushing in the later stages of durian fruit development can also cause chaos to how the pulps eventually turn out. Because a sudden growth of leaves means that the tree would also have to send nutrients to the leaves which would effectively be competing with the fruits.
As soon as veteran farmers spot leaf flushing, the immediate instinctive response would be to apply a little fertilizer that contains high phosphorus potassium.
But of course, prevention is always better than cure.
Do you see now how much care durian farmers have to put in to nurture these sensitive fruits?
Maybe this will help you have a new appreciation for the amount of work farmers have to put into to deliver the king of fruits to your dinner table.