วันอาทิตย์ที่ 21 กันยายน พ.ศ. 2551

How to Grow Durians # 4



Harvest: Grafted cultivars generally start bearing at 4 to 6 years after planting in the ground; seedlings usually take from 7 to 10 years but have been known to wait as long as 13 to 21 years—powerful incentives to use vegetative propagation.

Durian fruits vary in size and shape depending on variety and completeness of pollination, but most often are oblong and have an average mass slightly larger than a (U.S.-style) football. Fruit weights of 1.5-4 kg [3 to 10 pounds] are common, but occasionally massive 8 kg [20 pound] (tribal-size!) durians are produced. Of the weight of a typical whole durian, only about 15% to 25% is fruit pulp and about 20% is seeds, making it one of the most expensive fruits in the world in terms of its ratio of whole fruit to the part actually edible.

Depending on variety and climate conditions, it may require from about 85 to 150 days for durians to develop after flower pollination, and if not harvested, they will naturally drop from the tree over about a 10-week period.

In areas near the equator where there are no defined wet and dry seasons, as in parts of Malaysia and Sumatra, individual trees commonly bear fruit twice a year, with the peaks in June and December. In these equatorial areas, durian trees do not start flowering in response to any seasonal changes in day length or temperature, but rather are stimulated to flower by periods of dry weather. In tropical areas with distinct wet and dry seasons, for example, India and eastern Java, flowering begins near the end of the dry season. In tropical areas farther than 10º north or south from the equator, flowering normally starts in the spring months, with an annual harvest in mid-summer to autumn. There is a tendency with some trees to bear only every other year, even in areas where twice-a-year fruiting is possible.

"Initial yield may be 10 to 40 fruits for the first year of fruiting to about 100 fruits for the sixth year. Yield of up to 200 fruits is common after the 10th year of fruiting" — Durian OnLineWell-grown, high-yielding cultivars may produce 10 to 15 tons per hectare [9000-13000 pounds per acre] of durian fruits per year by 10 to 15 years after planting. As durians command relatively expensive market prices even in the areas of southeast Asia where they are plentiful, it is easy to understand that in that part of the world, people who have more than a few bearing durian trees are considered wealthy.
The two very different approaches to harvesting duriansShunyam NiravAs inclined to diversity as the durian is, it’s not too surprising that two very different basic approaches to harvesting and eating durians has developed among humans. For convenience they can be called the Thai approach, which is prevalent mostly only in Thailand, and the Malaysian approach, which is prevalent almost everywhere else in Southeast Asia but has been particularly developed and refined in Malaysia.

In Thailand, it’s customary to harvest durians from the tree by cutting with a knife (sometimes on the end of a long pole), when they are approaching ripeness, but not entirely ripe. Like papayas, bananas, and avocados, durians do ripen well off the tree, if not cut too soon. Many people (including me) savor Thai varieties of durians eaten when mid-ripe, somewhat before totally ripe; totally ripe is usually past their peak of deliciousness. The Thai durian varieties have evidently been selected and bred over generations to support this customary harvesting-before-ripe. Part of the fruit stem (botanically speaking, the peduncle) is always left attached when the durian is cut from the tree, rather than breaking off the fruit from the stem. The fruit stem is cut as long as practically possible, and is often wrapped with a banana leaf or paper, which is said to extend the fruit’s shelf life.

In Malaysia (and elsewhere), it’s a fundamental principle that durians should be allowed to naturally fully ripen on the tree for maximum-quality flavor, aroma, texture, and appearance. Durian growers wait until the trees naturally drop their ripe fruit, and collect the fruit several times a day from under the trees.To prevent damage from hitting the ground or rocks (or people!), either large safety nets are arranged under the trees to catch the falling spiky fruits; or workers climb the trees early in the season to attach long strings or ropes to each developing fruit, which are looped over branches above and then down to ground level like a pulley, so when the fruits are dropped by the tree they are caught and can be safely and easily lowered. Durians in Malaysia are thus regarded as highly perishable commodities — those that have fallen within the past 12 hours command very high prices in the marketplaces; after 12 hours the quality is perceived as having diminished and become ordinary, and the price is reduced.
On Penang, at Bao Sheng farm, the best just-dropped varieties of durians sold in the 1999 season for about the equivalent of US$3.50 a pound, which meant that a typical 4-pound durian cost about US$15 for one fruit. That’s at the farm, though; just-dropped durians are rushed from farms to the cities of Malaysia where the same durian may readily sell for over twice the farm price. And in durian-crazed Singapore, when swiftly exported fresh-dropped Malaysian durians of the highest quality varieties are available there, durian connoisseurs snap them up for the equivalent of US$75 per fruit! For the lowest prices and good fun, large numbers of Malaysian durian-lovers make pilgrimages to durian farms in various regions of the country during the season to savor the best freshly-dropped durians.

It’s a real connoisseur scene in Malaysia around durians — over a hundred officially registered varieties (and countless more unregistered), all with rich subtle differences of flavor, texture, aroma, and appearance, and much importance given to tree-ripening and fresh-droppedness. Malaysian varieties are generally smaller than Thai durians (rarely as large as a soccer ball), many varieties have much thinner spikes, and usually the fruit flesh around the seeds is not as thick as is common in Thai varieties. They usually have a much more complex and rich flavor than most Thai durians have, though, and it can be highly variable from fruit to fruit from the same tree, even from section to section within the same fruit.

It’s evident that Thais and Malaysians have a good-natured rivalry around their approaches to durians. The Malaysians disapprove of the Thai practice of harvesting durians before ripe and letting them ripen off the tree — that’s unthinkable in Malaysia. To cut durians early and not allow them to ripen on the tree and drop naturally occurs to most Malaysians as an insensitive ruination of full-flavored durian quality. (T.S. Chang of Bao Sheng Durian Farm asserts that durians lose 20% to 25% of their full potential for aroma and flavor by being harvested early...and I can understand from eating Malaysian durians what he means.) However, a Thai variety of durian allowed to ripen and drop from the tree is usually already past its prime. The Thais possess durian varieties which in their own way are of magnificent quality when cut, ripened off the tree (like bananas), and eaten at just the right stage before totally ripe.

Having the kinds of durian varieties they have, Thais don’t understand Malaysians’ (and others) obsession with tree-ripened fruit and enduring all the harvesting and marketing challenges and high prices that result. The practically-inclined Thais do have a commercial advantage with their approach — cutting durians before ripe has allowed them to develop a large profitable commercial durian-growing industry, the biggest of any country. In Thailand, everyone has about a week after harvesting to transport and market the fruit far and wide, whereas the Malaysian practice of only accepting tree-ripened durians necessarily greatly limits their commercial reach and shelf life and makes them very costly to consumers. Malaysians, however, cheerfully just regard these things as facts of life that necessarily come with obtaining their high-quality tree-ripened durians, satisfied that their durians have a much richer and more complex flavor and better overall quality than those of their Thai neighbors.

When I visited both countries in June 1999 at the peak of durian season, the highest-quality durians in Thailand were selling in the marketplaces for the equivalent in U.S. money of about 50 cents a pound; over the border in Malaysia highest-quality durians were selling for the equivalent of US$3.50 a pound at the farm, more in the marketplaces. Durians in Thailand have been made a widespread commodity that the majority of average people appear to be able to afford; in Malaysia it appears that durians are in financial reach of primarily only wealthier consumers (not a criticism, just an observation of the way things are). However, the big exceptions in either country are people who grow their own durians...who, if they have more than a few trees, inevitably become wealthy themselves from the abundant bounty given year after year by the trees!
As a durian-lover from the outside, I respect, understand, and enjoy both the Thai and Malaysian approaches and the resulting fruit. I’ve been fortunate to experience both incredibly luscious Thai durians (especially Monthong and especially those grown on the southern islands of Koh Samui and Koh Pha-Ngan, and in the durian-growing capital of Chanthaburi in eastern Thailand) — and some of the extremely richly-delicately-flavored connoisseur creme-de-la-creme Malaysian durians (especially on the island of Penang). Comparing them isn’t really fair; at their best they’re both fantastic, unmistakably durian and yet so different — as similar and yet as different as, say, Chinese and Japanese humans. And then there are all the other durian varieties found in Indonesia, Brunei, the Philippines, Vietnam, south India, and Sri Lanka, with a vast range of subtle differences and nuances. If you enjoy eating durian and get a chance to be in that part of the world during the season, visit the colorful local marketplaces and try as many as you can! Or better yet, if you live in a tropical area, seek out the best varieties of grafted trees to grow yourself!

More cultivation information: click here to view the Durian chapter (19 pages) from The Production of Economic Fruits in South-East Asia by Othman Yaacob and Suranant Subhadrabandhu (Oxford University Press, New York, 1995).
CREDIT BY :http://www.durianpalace.com



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