THERE’S more to the fruits of Davao than just the eating. In fact, choosing which to buy is an art by itself. Here are some tips so that you can go around choosing your choice of fruit like a real Dabawenyo.
Tip number 1. Mind the color.
Always get the ones where the sepal (a protective flower like covering) is still green. Once picked, the mangosteen’s sepals starts to turn from green to violet to brown. A violet sepal will have two or three days more before it turns to brown.
When the sepal is already brown but you can still break the rind, then eat the fruit right away as it will not last another day before it hardens like a rock.
A newly harvested mangosteen can be squeezed and the rind can be opened easily.
Tip number 2. Check the butt.
You need to check the persistent calyx, the star shaped black nub at the bottom of the fruit. The number of divisions of the calyx is equal to the number of seeds.
A calyx with four divisions means the fruit only has four seeds, further meaning that the seeds will be big. More divisions mean smaller seeds. It is best to get six and above.
Tip number 3. Breaking it open.
Remove the sepal and break the rind by squeezing with your fingers, following the grain of the rind. When fruit is no longer tender to touch, you may need a knife to cut the rind. It is best to use knife with a serrated edge, like a steak knife.
Tip number 1. Sniff it to know if it is ripe.
A ripe durian albeit still whole will emit odor that is most perceptible on its bottom. Sniff it, but only to appear like you know what you're doing. Generally, vendors are honest so best to ask them to choose for you. Bantering is recommended, "Pili-e ko kanang makatuok sa lagkit og parehas nimo ka-guapo/guapa (Choose for me one whose meat will make me choke from its stickiness, and as handsome/beautiful as you).”
Tip number 2. How to open it.
A durian that has cracks is already overripe. Native variety has tough rind and will require a bolo/knife to break it open. The hybrids and Thai/Malaysian varieties have softer rinds that you can open with a butter knife or even the handle of a spoon.
Start from the bottom, check the line where the thorns converge, insert the knife point or the spoon handle there and pry slowly, opening up toward the top.
Tip number 3. Washing off the odor.
Generally, other people hate the odor of Durian, so to wash it off; you just need to fill the empty Durian husk with water and swish the water a bit with your fingers to mix in the sap of the husk. Wash your hands with this until the odor disappears.
You can also get another Durian husk segment, swish the water again with your fingers, and gargle with it.
Tip number 1. The different varieties.
There are three general varieties available in Davao: the native, Duku (also spelled Duko or Duco), and longkong.
Longkong is the sweetest and is usually more expensive. Longkong has bunches that are distinctly clustered tight. There are more fruits per bunch.
Duku tends to have few bunches and if those that are in bunches have few fruits as compared to the native and the longkong. Its rind also feels thicker than Longkong.
The native also comes in bunches but are relatively looser than a longkong bunch. Its touch and go for natives – some are sweet, others are sour, and still others are bland. Best to taste first. Vendors allow buyers to taste before buying.
Tip number 2. As bitter as your Ex.
Native variety tends to have big seeds. Don't bite the seeds. They're bitter. Longkong and Duku have tiny seeds; some even just have a slightly hard core inside, but no seed.