Star Fruit

It seems nature loves to dazzle us with stars. There are glowing spheres twinkling in the night sky, star shaped fish swimming in the deep blue seas and then there is an amazing fruit from the carambola tree. This fruit, when cut crosswise, bears a resemblance to, well, a star and it is appropriately called, Star Fruit.

This succulent tropical fruit is grown in Australia, Caribbean, Central America, Florida, Hawaii, South America, Thailand, and throughout Southeast Asia. Its thin skin has a smooth texture and a glossy golden-yellow color when ripe. Inside its beautifully translucent yellow flesh it occasionally contains a dark seed or two. It ranges from 3 to 5 inches long and is easy to identify by its five definitive ribs.

Star fruit is exceedingly juicy and fragrant and depending on the variety, can range from exotically sweet to refreshingly tart. Sweet varieties have thick fleshy ribs and tart varieties often have narrow spaced ribs and as a general rule the narrower the ribs, the tarter the fruit, and the broader the ribs, the sweeter the fruit.

Varieties

Arkin is one of the leading sweet varieties and commercial cultivars.

Other sweet varieties includes:

  • Fwang Tung
  • Golden Star
  • Hoku
  • Maha
  • Sri Kembanqan (Kembangan)
  • Wheeler

Two tart varieties include:

  • Newcombe
  • Thayer

These are many more cultivars. To learn more visit:

California Rare Fruit Growers, Inc.
Wikipedia

Nutrients

This luscious fruit is full of antioxidants, flavonoids and it contains these nutrients:

Beta-Carotene | Fiber | Lutein and Zeaxanthin | Potassium | Vitamin A | Vitamin C

In Season

You can find star fruit in season from summer’s end to mid-winter at your local farmers market, specialty produce market or grocery market.

Selecting and Storing

When purchasing look for firm fruit that has a bright yellow even color. Dark brown along the ribs is normal and an indication the fruit is ripe. Over-ripe star fruit will develop brown spots all over; similar to when a banana becomes over-ripe. Avoid fruits with shriveled brown ribs. Star fruit bruise easily, so handle with care.

Unripe star fruits are green or still have a green color on the ribs. To ripen leave out at room temperature, turning occasionally until the fruit has a fruity scent and the skin is yellow with light brown edges.

Use ripe star fruits within a few days of purchase or refrigerate unwashed in a plastic bag for up to one week.

Preparing

Wash star fruit before use. Star fruit is easy to use, there is no need to peel the skin and if it contains any seeds they are easy to remove. If desired, cut off the dark top of each ridge and the stem end of the fruit. Here are 4 easy steps to prepare a star fruit:

Step 1 – How to devein a star fruit

To de-vein a star fruit you need to remove the brown part of the outer edge of the ridges. Place the star fruit vertically over a cutting board. Hold the star fruit and with a sharp knife, cut shallowly just below the surface down along each of the five ridges (or “star points”), removing and discarding the brown outer edge.

Step 2 – How to cut off the stem end

Place the star fruit on its side. One end of the fruit is flatter with a dark spot where the stem was attached, the other end come to a peak. Cut off and discard the flatter end with the dark spot.

Step 3 – How to slice a star fruit

Always check the recipes you are working with for cutting instructions. You can cut slices as thin or as thick as suggested for a recipe or as you desire. To get those gorgeous stars, place the fruit on its side and cut crosswise to desired thickness.

Step 4 – How to remove the seeds

Take the tip of your knife and remove and discard any seeds you find in each individual slice.

What to do with the edges of the ribs, stem end and seeds? Add it to your compost.

Now you can show off those terrific star shapes and now that you know how easy star fruit are to use, try it in chutneys, curries, juices, salads, smoothies, soups, or as a dessert.

Try this recipe:

Star Fruit Smoothie

Speak Your Mind

*