My friend and I have a tradition of giving each other unspeakably horrible presents on each other's half birthday. I want him to be able to enjoy the delicious taste - and smell - of durian all year long, so I want to make my own jam using Durian. I've canned before (always with store-bought pectin and using slightly-modified versions of the recipes provided with the pectin). I'd rather this be as good as I can possibly make it without too much experimentation (durian is not cheap where I live), so what ratio of pectin to durian should I try to hit?

  • 5
    Brave of you to accept the horrific smell in your own kitchen while preparing the jam. I wonder if it'll even carry over to a product cooked that much, you may wind up punking yourself here.
    – logophobe
    Commented Jun 28, 2018 at 16:03
  • I have a propane-powered burner I can set up outside. The chance that cooking will "purify" the durian scent isn't something I've considered - the same friend bought me durian-filled mochi, which was vile b/c the scent migrated from the filling into the dough, so capturing the scent properly could be a problem.
    – chif-ii
    Commented Jun 28, 2018 at 17:46
  • Does the burner put out enough heat to effectively can using a standard water-bath method? Even if it does, I don't know how volatile durian's aromatic composition is; as far as I know it's often used fresh or pureed and only slightly cooked, even in things like those mochi. If you're cooking it enough to create a stable jam then you might burn off a lot of the aromatic compounds. (Given how intense it is I bet the product will still be funky, but you yourself are gonna have to deal with the full-strength no-holds-barred version.)
    – logophobe
    Commented Jun 28, 2018 at 17:52
  • The burner's about 1-1.5 ft in diameter, so it should be hot enough to cook it. I hope I can actually seal the jars indoors without too much skunk, but failing that the outside burner is plenty powerful.
    – chif-ii
    Commented Jun 28, 2018 at 18:04

1 Answer 1


I'm aware that this is old.

However, the topic (and comments) it got me interested in an academic manner in what compounds might be present and how volatile they are, which led me to this article and to a scientific publication on identifying the scent compounds in durian. Many of the compounds are would appear to be reasonably volatile, but not massively so, and the ones that produce the "durian" smell are easily detected by the nose, so even small amounts are enough to make you notice them. I've put some into the table below, with their ranking in the list of abundance :

Rank Compound Scent type
4 (2Z)-but-2-ene-1-thiol skunky
7 3-methylbut-2-ene-1-thiol skunky
9 ethane-1,1-dithiol sulfury, durian
10 diethyl disulfide roasted onion
11 1-(methylsulfanyl)ethanethiol roasted onion
21 1,1-bis(ethylsulfanyl)ethane rubbery, burnt
22 ethyl (methylsulfanyl)acetate sulfury, fruity
23 unknown boiled cabbage
28 butanoic acid cheese
29 3-sulfanylbutan-1-ol onion, leek
30 (2S)-2-methylbutanoic acid cheese
32 pentanoic acid cheese
33 1-(ethyldisulfanyl)-1-(ethylsulfanyl)ethane sulfury, onion
37 hexanoic acid cheese

You should note that most of them contain the parts "thiol" and/or "sulf" - these indicate sulfur containing compounds and are often described as smelling like rotting eggs, and the rest I listed are ones that make up the cheese smell of strong cheeses. So yes, fairly stinky and only moderately volatile, so you won't burn them all off.

Anyway, the scientific article has a mention of a durian preserve called lempok, durian kek or durian guan, which, as it turns out is also called durian jam. Basically it boils down to (see what I did there...) making a very thick paste from a reduction of durian pieces with some sugar and a small amount of salt, with no need for pectin. I think this will make it into a paste similar in texture to quince paste:

Recipe For Durian Guan


1/2 kg very ripe durian
8 tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
  1. Mix durian and sugar into the pan. Use low heat and stir until it gets thick.

  2. Notice when you stick your finger on it, it won’t get on your finger.

The durian meat which is too ripe will have some juice that will help the jam not to get burn on the stove. Anyway, keep stirring and always use low heat.

Hard work, 🙂 you will get a big arm muscle as a benefit. :p

  1. When it is ready. Leave it cool off and pack in a container.

Durian Guan will keep in the refrigerator at least one month or longer.

This recipe comes from Joy’s Thai Kitchen. She warns of the smell generated:

The bad thing about it is that you need to handle the durian in your kitchen to make the jam. Durians have a smell like sulfur and spoiled eggs… and boiling broccoli. I hope you’re getting a good visual image of the faces of your family members and neighbors as you’re making this

This all means it will stink to high heaven, but if you like durian, you will probably like the taste of the jam.

TL;DR: It'll stink, but no need for pectin.

  • I'm somewhat distrustful of a source that gives the smell of butanoic acid as 'cheese', when it is in fact the most vomit-y thing I've ever smelled...
    – AakashM
    Commented May 8 at 11:18
  • @AakashM Butanoic acid is most certainly a common part of the flavour compounds in cheese - it's the main one in Parmesan style cheeses I think. It is produced by hydrolysis of short-chain fatty acids.
    – bob1
    Commented May 8 at 20:33
  • sure, sure - but on its own it has its own decidedly emetic smell
    – AakashM
    Commented May 13 at 8:23
  • 1
    @AakashM I think the point of the list is "smell type" as in where you might find this component, not the absolute scent
    – bob1
    Commented May 13 at 8:27

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