Durian vs Jackfruit: Illustrative Guide to Differences & Similarities


Durian vs Jackfruit
Durian vs Jackfruit

This question seems to appear many times because these two fruits look very similar at first sight. However, after tasting and seeing both fruits and doing a little research you will find there are more differences than similarities and we will show you which fruit many personally prefer and why. We will discuss the taste, smell, nutrition and appearance of each fruit, but first, let’s take a look at the quick answer to the question durian vs jackfruit.

Durian and jackfruit may look similar, but when you look closely, the shell of the durian fruit is very hard with spikes whereas the outer skin of the jackfruit could be described as a hard skin with a pimply or pebbly appearance. The Durian fruit can grow up to 30cm and weigh between 1kg and 3kg having a sweet but pungent taste and smell, however, the jackfruit can grow as much as 90cm in length and weigh as much as 55kg and has an intensely sweet taste with subtle pineapple and banana flavouring.

Let’s delve a little more deeply with some pictures to really show you the main differences and similarities between these two fruits. I have broken it down into 4 major categories: taste, smell, nutrition and appearance which I will discuss one by one below. We will also tell you which one is the overall winner including other interesting uses including medicinal uses of both fruits. So please keep reading.

The Appearance of Jackfruit and Durian: What Do They Look Like?

Durian has a hard shell with spikes that can hurt if you don’t handle the fruit carefully. Jackfruit, on the other hand, has a strong skin with raised pimples on it that do not prick or stab you. The skin of jackfruit can be easily cut with a knife however Durian fruit contains seams along the hard outer shell that you need to locate and cut along to open. Please check our article: How To Cut Open Durian Fruit

Durian Fruit
Durian Fruit

Once inside the Durian fruit, there are a number of compartments with pods of the durian flesh that surround a seed. The flesh is soft and creamy with a strong odour. The colour can be orange or yellow depending on the variety. Jackfruit, on the other hand, has a lot of seeds with the many pale coloured plump bulbs that are sweet.

Jackfruit
Jackfruit

Durian smells the strongest when the flesh is exposed whereas jackfruit has a strong odour while ripe and unopened then once opened the smell of the fruit is a sweet smell.

Here is a quick comparison table of the two fruits:

FruitTasteSmellNutritionAppearance
DurianSweet to BittersweetPungentDensely NutritiousHard Outer Shell with spikes. Creamy fruit.
JackfruitIntensely SweetOdouresMany phytochemical compoundsHard skin with raised pimples.

Do Durian and Jackfruit Taste the Same?

Of course, the taste is a major factor to consider with these two tropical fruits. By the way, being tropical, you will only really see these fruits fresh in a tropical environment. My first encounter with both fruits was in the Philippines in Davao.

Let’s look at the taste of Durian first. Durian comes in over two hundred different varieties and depending on the variety can be sweet or bittersweet with a creamy custard-like texture and at times alcohol like aftertaste. Its taste is so unique that once you can overcome the pungent smell you find yourself liking the fruit so much that you just cannot stop eating it. If you want an in-depth article on the taste and varieties of durian please check our post: What Does Durian Taste Like?

Jackfruit, however, has a very intense sweet taste with subtle overtones of banana and pineapple flavouring. Its texture is very dense and fibrous with not a lot of juice. The seeds are also edible and have been described as milky with a taste similar to the Brazil nut.[1]

So, as you can see jackfruit and durian do not taste the same. For distinctive taste, I would say the Durian definitely has the most distinctive unique taste of the two.

In my personal opinion I prefer the taste of Durian, due to its rich creamy texture and unique flavour, to the taste of Jackfruit.

Durian vs Jackfruit Smell: What Do They Smell Like?

Durian and Jackfruit Smell
Durian and Jackfruit Smell

Now for the battle of the smells between jackfruit and durian. We will first start with Jackfruit because as you may not have been aware of when fully ripe, a jackfruit that is unopened can emit a strong and very disagreeable odour, which has been described as decayed onions, while inside the opened jackfruit, the pulp smells of a combination of pineapple and banana.[2]

This is why perhaps jackfruit has also been banned in some public establishments such as airports and hotels.

However, nothing compares to Durian when it comes to smell. Durian has been banned in many hotels and public places due to its very strong odour.

The odour could be described as very smelly and foul, however, there are odourless varieties. According to plant explorer, Otis W. Barret[3] the flesh of the more common durian has a very strong and powerful odour which reminded the plant explorer, of cheese combined with decayed and rotting onion and turpentine, or “garlic, along with some Limburger cheese and some spice”. However, he said that due to the divine and sweet taste after eating a bit of the flesh “the odour is barely noticed.”[3]

So, if you can push through the initial smell of Durian, you will find the flavour of the durian flesh very irresistible and addictive.

However, due to the Durians pungent smell, we have to declare the Durian the clear winner of the smell between the two fruits. However, if you cannot tolerate the smell of Durian its nice to know that there are odourless varieties and also commercial varieties that don’t have such a strong unpleasant smell such as the Marthong variety.

Now let’s move on in the battle of nutrition between the Durian and Jackfruit.

Nutrition Comparisons & Differences between Jackfruit and Durian

The jackfruits edible flesh is comprised of 74% water, along with 23% carbohydrates, a good 2% protein, and only 1% fat.

The carbohydrate part is mostly sugars and is a very good source of dietary fibre. The fruit’s flesh or pulp is considered to constitute around 25% to 40% of the weight of the total fruit.

In a small 100-gram portion of the raw jackfruit, it provides a good 95 kcal of energy and is a very good source of vitamin B6 (at around 25% DV). The fruit contains very modest amounts (between 10-19% DV) of vitamin C along with potassium, with no other significant micronutrients.

Take a look at the table below where you will be able to see how much nutrition is in a 100-gram portion of jack fruit.[4]

Name (Jackfruit 100g)AmountUnit
Water73.46g
Energy95kcal
Protein1.72g
Total lipid (fat)0.64g
Ash0.94g
Carbohydrate, by difference23.25g
Fiber, total dietary1.5g
Sugars, total 19.08g
Sucrose0.42g
Glucose 9.48g
Fructose9.19g
Starch1.47g
Calcium, Ca24mg
Iron, Fe0.23mg
Magnesium, Mg29mg
Phosphorus, P21mg
Potassium, K448mg
Sodium, Na2mg
Zinc, Zn0.13mg
Copper, Cu0.076mg
Manganese, Mn0.043mg
Vitamin C13.7mg
Thiamin0.105mg
Riboflavin0.055mg
Niacin0.92mg
Pantothenic acid0.235mg
Vitamin B-60.329mg
Folate, total24µg
Vitamin A, RAE5µg
Carotene, beta61µg
Carotene, alpha6µg
Vitamin A, IU110IU
Lutein + zeaxanthin157µg
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol)0.34mg
Fatty acids, total saturated0.195g
Fatty acids, total monounsaturated0.155g
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated0.094g
Cholesterol0mg
Tryptophan0.034g
Threonine0.086g
Isoleucine0.069g
Leucine0.103g
Lysine0.069g
Methionine0.034g
Cystine0.017g
Phenylalanine0.052g
Tyrosine0.103g
Valine0.086g
Arginine0.138g
Histidine0.034g
Alanine0.086g
Aspartic acid0.172g
Jackfruit Nutrition per 100g

You may find it interesting to note that jackfruit also has many phytochemical compounds which can assist in your health and reduction of disease. According to a research paper entitled “Nutritional & Phytochemical properties of Jackfruit: a Review”[9] jackfruit possesses antioxidant, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, anticariogenic, antifungal, anti-cancer properties all due to its many flavonoids, sterols and prenylflavones which may be responsible for the pharmacological attributes.

Now let’s look at the Nutritional composition of Durian Fruit.

A fresh raw durian fruit is made up of 65% water, along with 27% carbohydrates (which includes 4% dietary fibre), a good 5% fat along with 1% protein.

It is interesting to note that many people don’t associate fruit with protein but as you can see fruit including jackfruit and durian do have small amounts of protein and in the easy to absorb amino acid profile.

A 100-gram portion of raw durian fruit or freshly frozen fruit will provide around 33% of Your Daily needs of thiamine and very moderate amounts of many other of the B vitamins, vitamin C, along with the mineral manganese (around 15%–24% Daily Value).

The different durian varieties vary in their carbohydrate amounts by 16%-29%, along with fat content by 2%-5%, and protein amounts (made up of amino acids) by 2%-4%, and finally dietary fibre amount by 1%-4%. The calorie value is a whopping 84kcal -185 kcal per 100 grams.[5] The fatty acid part of the durian fruits flesh is significantly rich in the healthy oleic acid and palmitic acid.[5]

Now considering that an average durian has about 486 grams of edible pulp[6] then one whole durian can supply from 410 kcal to 900kcal which is a significant amount of your daily calorie requirements, which is why I love this fruit so much. Being on a fruit diet I only have to eat small amounts of this fruit along with all my other fruits to get enough energy and calories to prevent me from getting too skinny.

But durian just has so many nutritional benefits as well. Its no coincidence it is called the ‘King of Fruits’. Take a look at the nutritional table below and see for yourself.[7]

Name (Durian 100g)AmountUnit
Water64.99g
Energy147kcal
Protein1.47g
Total lipid (fat)5.33g
Ash1.12g
Carbohydrate, by difference27.09g
Fiber, total dietary3.8g
Calcium, Ca6mg
Iron, Fe0.43mg
Magnesium, Mg30mg
Phosphorus, P39mg
Potassium, K436mg
Sodium, Na2mg
Zinc, Zn0.28mg
Copper, Cu0.207mg
Manganese, Mn0.325mg
Vitamin C19.7mg
Thiamin0.374mg
Riboflavin0.2mg
Niacin1.074mg
Pantothenic acid0.23mg
Vitamin B-60.316mg
Folate, total36µg
Vitamin A, RAE2µg
Carotene, beta23µg
Carotene, alpha6µg
Vitamin A, IU44IU
Cholesterol0mg
Durian Nutrition per 100g

As you can see Durian is rich in many of the macronutrients (sugars and fat) along with micronutrients (such as potassium), and dietary fibre.

It is also an energy-dense fruit due to high sugar and fat content and, hence, can contribute to daily energy intake.

According to the National Institute of Health[5]Durian is also rich in bioactive polyphenols and hence possesses strong antioxidant capacity.
They also went onto mention that many animal studies have shown that durian possessed anti-atherosclerotic, anti-hyperglycaemic, anti-proliferative, and also amazingly probiotic effects.

Durian is rich in healthy plant compounds, including anthocyanins, carotenoids, polyphenols, and flavonoids. Many of these plant compounds function as powerful antioxidants and so has been noted it can help with such conditions as lowering cancer risk, heart disease, low blood sugar and infection.[8]

Durian fruit is also rich in many bioactive compounds, and because of this, it can be used as an active ingredient for the process of developing functional foods.

Well, we feel in conclusion that Durian again is the clear winner between the two fruits when it comes to its nutrition and antioxidant abilities.

However, I guess on this on I am also a little biased mainly because of the awesome carbohydrate and calorie content of durian. As I mentioned earlier, I am on a fruit diet so the dense nutrition along with high-calorie content of Durian fruit makes it a clear winner for me and my dietary needs and requirements.

Other Uses for Durian and Jackfruit

There are a few other uses for both Durian and jackfruit that are worth mentioning here.

For durian fruit you can use the rind and wood.

Rind: The dried rinds can be burned as fuel and you can hang fish in the smoke to produce a strong flavour. You can then use the ash to bleach silk.

Wood: The durian sapwood is a white colour, the heartwood of the durian tree is a light red-brown, soft and coarse, and not termite-resistant. This wood is used for masts and the interior of huts.

For other uses, the Jackfruit beats Durian fruit hands down. There are so many other uses for the fruit, rind, bark and tree of jackfruit. Here are some.

Fruit: In some locations, cattle are fed jackfruit. The jackfruit tree are even planted in open pastures so that the animals can feed on the fallen fruits. The jackfruit rind is also used as a good source of stock food.

Leaves: The young jackfruit leaves are eaten by livestock and are fattening. In India, the jackfruit leaves are also made into food wrappers for cooking, and can also be tied together to make disposable plates.

Latex: The latex can be heated and used as a homemade cement for fixing and mending broken chinaware and fragile earthenware, and as a waterproof sealant for boats and holes in buckets.

Wood: Jackwood is an important timber and is termite-proof, and known to be reliably resistant to any fungal or bacterial decay. It also has a beautiful grain and colour which resembles mahogany and is used for furniture, construction, masts, oars, implements and musical instruments.

To achieve a smooth finish you will need to use sharp tools, however, the finish is prized as ut polishes beautifully.

A rich yellow dye is made from the sawdust of jackwood when it is boiled with alum and is used to dye silk.

Bark: The bark is occasionally made into cords of rope or cloth.

Medicinal Uses Of Jackfruit and Durian

The flesh of Durian fruit is said to help destroy and expel worms and parasites.

The juice of the durian leaf can also be applied to the head of a person with a fever.

The leaves can also be used in a bath for people who are suffering from jaundice.

It is also interesting to note that boiled leaves and fruits can be readily applied to swellings and also help and assist with skin diseases.

The actual smell of the durian flesh is thought to be linked to the indole compounds which stop bacteria from reproducing. Eating the durian fruit is also alleged to restore an ailing person’s health. The durians fruits flesh is widely believed to also act as a powerful aphrodisiac.[3]

The Jackfruit pulp and seeds are considered a tonic, cooling to the body and nutritious, and is also considered to be good for ‘hangovers’ that is in overcoming the influence of alcohol on the body.

The seed starch is given to relieve bad digestion, stomach pains and constipation and the seeds roasted are said to be an aphrodisiac. Jackfruit leaves burned with coconut shell and then the ash gathered can be used to heal ulcers.

The jackfruits dried latex can be converted to a compound with marked androgenic action.

The latex, when mixed with vinegar, is also said to promote the healing of abscesses, snakebite and swellings of the glandular’s.

The root of the Jackfruit is also said to be a remedy for skin diseases along with asthma. Fever and diarrhoea can also be treated with an extract taken from the root of jackfruit.

So, what is the final outcome of Durian vs Jackfruit? Well, my opinion is that Durian is the clear winner. Its the more popular of the two and the taste is one of the reasons. It’s just so out of this world and the texture so creamy. It is the undisputed King of Fruits.

Please let us know what your favourite is.

References:

Juan Paul

We are Juan & Raquel, the guys behind Fruit Information. We've been interested in fruit over the last few decades and have been busy with improving our knowledge of the different varieties. I, Juan, have been almost a fruitarian for over a decade and almost solely living on fruits as my main dietary intake. My wife Raquel has worked on a fruit farm and also worked in a nursery and seedlings shop. She is a very experienced and knowledgable farmer. We have recently undertaken a new Dragon Fruit farm with friends.

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