Jackfruit vs. Durian: 4 Ways To Tell the Difference

nick musica
Published Jul 30, 2020. Read time: 2 mins

Adventurous fruit fans have a special place in their hearts for jackfruit and durian. These unusual fruits are often compared because of their similar shape, tactile outer texture and daring flavors. Both hail from Southeast Asian countries, although not always in the same places. Plus, they’re prized both for their versatility and nutritional content.

All of this leaves many people wonder what, if any, difference between these two exotic fruits might be. However, durian and jackfruit are quite different in size, skin texture, fragrance and flavor. Here are four ways to tell the difference between these two unique fruits.

Durian is smaller than jackfruit

In the West, it’s rare to see a durian fruit and a jackfruit side by side. If we had this good fortune, it would be very easy to tell the difference. One jackfruit can weigh a whopping 120 pounds, making even a large durian seem relatively demure at only 7 pounds. Both somewhat oblong, durian fruits are about 12 inches long and 6 inches across, while jackfruit can reach almost three feet in length and about 20 inches in diameter!

You get the picture. Jackfruits are absolutely gigantic in comparison to durian.

Durian is spiky, jackfruit is bumpy

Both durian and jackfruit have thick, beautifully textured rinds. However, durian is covered in spiky thorns while the raised nubbins on a jackfruit are rounded at the top. Because jackfruits are so heavy, we can thank Mother Nature for sparing the spikes on these giants. Durian, on the other hand, is a bit more manageable in size even with the sharp, spike-covered rind.

Another important difference in their rinds is that you can observe seams or little valleys in between bulbous parts of the durian fruit. This makes durian much easier to cut open, whereas jackfruit’s skin is evenly textured with no visible seams or valleys.

One smells like used socks, the other smells like bubblegum

Ok, maybe not straight up bubblegum, but big ol’ jackfruit is often described as having a more pleasant fragrance with notes of pink bubblegum, bananas and pineapple. Durian, on the other hand, is absolutely singular in its pungent fragrance. This smaller, yet mighty smelly fruit is banned on public transport in some countries. Some say it smells like hot rot, but it’s nothing short of heavenly to those who love it.

Suffice it to say, if you could smell both, you’d be absolutely certain that the two fruits are very different.

The flavors couldn’t be more different

With such variation in size and smell, it’s no wonder the flavor of each fruit’s flesh is so distinct. As their fragrances suggest, durian has a stinkier, more challenging flavor to beginning fruit connoisseurs. It’s easy to be deterred by durian if you read about it’s flavor before giving it a try, but trust us: to many people, durian is the most delicious thing on the planet. Jackfruit, while pungent in its own right, has slightly more familiar tropical flavors like banana, pineapple, mango, and even apples. 

Durian fruit is compartmentalized within the rind’s thick walls, while jackfruit flesh is suspended in a substance that can be quite slippery and stringy; almost like the insides of a pumpkin only more slimy.

These distinct fruits both deserve a place in your fruit hunting adventures. Sign up for FruitStand’s email newsletter to be the first to know when we’re shipping these hard-to-find fruits so that you can taste the differences for yourself!

Trying durian or jackfruit for the first time? Tag us on Instagram @FruitStandCom to show us how it goes!

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