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Starfruit taste, culinary uses, health benefits and growing info

Information on starfruit

Latin Name and family:

The latin name of starfruit is Averrhoa Carambola, it is in the Oxalidaceae-Wood-Sorrel Family. Other names for starfruit are: Carambola, kambola, caramba, five corner

starfruit from the farm

Characteristics:

Starfruit ranges from about 2.5 to 6 in (6.35-15 cm) long and up to 3.5 (9 cm) wide, with 5 ribs so that it looks like star when cut crosswise, yellowish-green with high water content. The outside skin is waxy, green-orange-yellow. It has up to a dozen seeds 1/4 to 1/2 inches (6-12.5 mm) that a thin, flat and long. Sometimes there are no seeds.

 

Taste and Culinary Uses:

The fruit flesh is juicy/high water content, it is also crisp, and slightly yellow flesh when fully ripe. The sweetest varieties contain little more than 4% sugar. The fruit is most commonly, washed chopped (so it looks cool) and eaten as is, including the skin. Apart from that many people use them in fruit salads, smoothies, juice and as garnish. Many cultures use the fruit in other prepared cooking applications. many applications such as stews, curries, preserves, sherbets, cooking the green fruit or slightly under ripe fruit with various dishes, salted, stewed, pickles, relishes etc. The fruit juice has been used to remove iron rust stains. Here is a list of recipes of the Fairchild Botanical Gardens: http://www.virtualherbarium.org/tropicalfruit/carambola-recipes.html

Harvest and Storage:

This tropical fruit is tasty when picked ripe or fall to the ground ripe. The fruits naturally fall to the ground when fully ripe. For marketing, they should be handpicked when they are green with just a little yellow. Refrigeration after harvesting prolongs life, but can impede proper ripening.

Health benefits:

Starfruit is high in vitamin C, and has very high antioxidant qualities. (Fisheries, 2008). In Sri Lanka, India, Brazil and China the fruit is used to treat a variety of conditions including bleeding and halt hemorrhages, fevers, diarrhea, eye afflictions, kidney and bladder upsets and vomiting (Morton, 1987).

Contraindications:

Starfruit contains oxalic acid, avoid if you have kidney disease, kidney failure or are on dialysis, may interfere with some prescription medications.

Growth patterns:

Starfruit is tropical and sub-tropical, it grows up to 20-30 feet, (6-9 m). It thrives in any tropical low lands and bears from seed in as early as 3 years. Grafted trees will fruit in 10 months. It grows well in elevations up to 4,000 ft (1,200 m). Additionally, starfruit likes even distributions of rainfall throughout the year and does not tolerate flooding, thus it needs good drainage. They are relatively pest-free except for fruit flies.

If you enjoyed this article you may also be interested in: Rolliniamamey sapote or check out our page for info on tropical fruits and foods.

Resources:

  1. Permacopia Book II. D. Hunter Beyer Dr. Franklin Martin.
  2. Hawaiian Organic growing Guide, Shunyam Nirav. (1992)Oasis Maui inc.
  3. Morton, J.F.(1987). Fruits of warm climates. Miami, Florida, USA
  4. http://ntbg.org/plants/plant_details.php?plantid=1377
  5. .http://www.worldagroforestry.org/treedb/AFTPDFS/Averrhoa_carambola.PDF
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