Also Known As
Carambola , kamrakh
Carambola, also known as starfruit, is the fruit of Averrhoa carambola, a species of tree native to the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, India, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka. The fruit is a popular food throughout Southeast Asia, the South Pacific and parts of East Asia. The tree is also cultivated throughout non-indigenous tropical areas. The star fruit has five lobes covered in an edible waxy yellow skin. The flavor of the yellow flesh is reminiscent of citrus fruit and varies from quite sour to mildly sweet, depending upon the variety. Some contain small dark seeds in the center. . Those with tinges of green on the lobes may be further ripened at room temperature.
Due to their popularity as a garnish, star fruit is now being sold in many specialty produce markets as well as larger chain grocery stores. Fresh carambolas are often eaten out of hand like most fruits, as well as in salads, although the most popular use is for garnishing.
How to Select
Select firm, shiny skinned, even colored fruit. Star fruits will ripen at room temperature and have lightly brown edges on the ribs when it's ripe. Avoid purchasing star fruit with brown, shriveled ribs. This delicious fruit is also available dried.
Preparing and Peeling Star Fruits
Rinse the star fruit, hold the star fruit vertically over a cutting board or counter-top. Using a sharp knife, cut very shallowly down along each of the five ridges (or "star points"), removing and discarding the brown outer edge.
Turn the star fruit on its side. You will see that one end of the fruit comes to a peak, while the other end is flatter with a dark spot (where the stem was attached). Cut off this end piece and discard.
Sliced star Fruit
Like an apple, you can cut thin or thick slices - it's up to you. Either way, you'll love the beauty of cutting this marvelous work of nature.
Deseeding Star Fruits
Using the tip of your knife, remove and discard any seeds you find (Star fruit seeds are similar to apple seeds, but can be slightly larger and flatter).
With only 30 calories per fruit plus lots of fiber, star fruit is a great choice for anyone trying to lose weight. They're also very healthy - full of antioxidants and flavonoids.
Star fruits are great to eat out of hand as these tropical delights do not need to be peeled or seeded before eating. Simply wash the fruit, remove any blemished areas, cut crosswise to get the star shape, and eat!
How to Store
Non-ripe star fruit should be turned often, until they are yellow in color and ripe with light brown ribs. Store ripe star fruits at room temperature for two to three days or unwashed, and refrigerated, in a plastic bag for up to one week.
• The star fruit is an excellent source of ascorbic acid, which is important to the fitness of your body, as it assists in maintaining bones, teeth, mucus membranes, skin and improves the immune system. Based on Nutrition Data, a single cup of sliced carambola has 37.2 mg of vitamin C.
• The star fruit provides little amounts of the B vitamins such as vitamin B5 or pantothenic acid, and the derivatives may help lower cholesterol and speed up wound recovery.
• The fruit has beta-carotene, which can be converted into retinol or vitamin A in your body for good vision and appetite.
• The star fruit contains both antimicrobial and antioxidant activities. Extracts of the fruit proved antimicrobial activity against Bacillus cereus, E. coli, Salmonella typhi and Staphylococcus aureus.
• The fruit contains small quantities of potassium, which regulate blood pressure level; iron for balanced red blood cells; as well as calcium and magnesium, which function together to help fortify bones.
• The star fruit is rich in soluble fiber, which can be useful to reduce cholesterol levels and keep your bowels healthy.