Its eye-catching shape and colors may be a large part of the appeal of the star fruit, but there is a lot more to the carambola, as it is officially named than meets the eye.
Native to Southeast Asia, you can also find the star fruit growing in the South Pacific, the Caribbean, and other tropical areas- even Florida. When the tree flowers, it has beautiful, bright pink flowers.
I love incorporating star fruit into a variety of different dishes. While it’s sweet, it’s versatile enough to be used in more savory foods, too, if you’re a bit adventurous!
Star fruit is a sweet fruit with a slightly tart flavor; the tartness lessens the riper it is. When unripe, star fruit will have a sour lemon/lime taste. Star fruit tastes similar to the flavor of kiwi fruit.
Star fruit can actually be a great addition to salads, for example. The crunchy texture and juiciness make it quite refreshing to pair along with salad vegetables.
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What Does Starfruit Taste Like, and What Texture Does it Have?
Larger star fruits taste mild and sweet, while smaller starfruits can be quite sour and tart. The texture is similar to kiwi fruit or other juicy fruit.
This makes star fruit pretty versatile and easy to use for lots of different dishes and cuisines. For example, you might like to use a smaller variety if you want to give your dish a sharp pop.
However, if you’re looking for a snack, then a larger, sweeter star fruit is probably going to be the better option unless you really like sour food.
Where To Buy Star Fruit
Star fruit is a tropical fruit that originates from either Sri Lanka or Indonesia. Due to it’s popularity it has spread across Asia but is still relatively new to North America.
You’re unlikely to find star fruit in a large chain grocery store and will have better luck going to an Asian grocer. Their selection and quality of this tropical fruit will be better as well since they’re more familiar with it.
How Do I Choose a Star Fruit?
When you buy a star fruit at the grocery store, one of the most important things to look for is the color. Ripe star fruit is golden, with brown edges.
If you find a star fruit that’s green, it’s generally not going to be ripe, and probably tastes quite sour and tart. It’s ok if the star fruit has some patches of green, though.
How Do I Store Star Fruit? How Long Does it Last?
If all you find are unripe star fruit, you can buy these and ripen them at home. Star fruit that isn’t ripe needs to be frequently turned where you’re storing it so that all of the sides can ripen evenly.
Once your star fruit is ripe, you should try to eat it within a few days. You should also store your star fruits at room temperature.
You can keep star fruit on the counter and it should keep longer that way. Usually, when I store star fruit this way, I find it lasts up to about a week ripe before it starts to turn.
If you want to keep your star fruits longer while they are ripe, you should put them in the refrigerator. Usually, ripe star fruits can last up to a couple of weeks in the fridge.
If you’re not ready to use your star fruit just yet, you can also freeze them.
How Should I Prepare Star Fruit For Cooking?
Once you’ve found or picked your star fruit, it’s important that you wash it thoroughly. The entire fruit is edible, even the waxy peel, so you don’t need to peel it before cooking or eating it.
Lots of people don’t like the seeds, though, so you might want to take them out. If you want to remove the seeds, you can do so fairly easily using the point of a knife to scrape them out.
Usually, cooking with star fruit is a bit limited and mostly involves using the fruit itself, instead of incorporating it into more elaborate dishes.
For example, you can bake star fruit to dehydrate it, and dried star fruit can make a great snack. You can also dehydrate star fruit for similar results, and this makes it a great addition to muesli, trail mix, or homemade chips!
You could try using star fruit in a stew. I have tried this once, and while the results weren’t to my tastes personally, I can imagine that it would work well as a milder substitute for mango in dishes that could use a bit of tropical sweetness.
If you’re going to try stewing star fruit, I’d recommend doing so with ginger, sugar, and spices. This could also be a great way to try making a star fruit chutney or sauce.
How To Eat Star Fruit Raw
Most people eat star fruit raw. If you want to eat your star fruit as it is, then you should simply slice it into manageable pieces and remove the seeds.
The easiest way to cut up a star fruit is by cutting off the ends first, and then slicing it horizontally at the thickness you want. As you cut the fruit, you can easily remove the seeds with your fingers and discard them.
What Are Some Ways To Cook With Star Fruit?
As mentioned above, most people eat star fruit raw. You can slice up star fruit and add it into a salad, which is probably one of the most common ways to use the fruit.
If you’re making juice or a smoothie, you can add star fruit straight into this. The fruit is so juicy that it is a pretty hydrating addition to different drinks.
You can also make star fruit juice, which is wonderfully refreshing on a hot day. Try pureeing the fruit and then mixing it with ice and different spices.
Also, you can try pickling star fruit- I haven’t tried it myself, but I’ve heard that the results can be pretty impressive, to say the least! The star fruit’s shape makes it a fantastic garnish, too.
It’s very eye-catching, so it looks excellent served with cocktails or to decorate different tarts or desserts.
If you eat star fruit raw, a pretty popular combination is actually serving it with chili powder. This is fairly common with other tropical fruits, too, like mango. It might sound a bit odd, but it’s delicious. Give it a shot!
Warning About Star Fruit
I’d also like to note that you should avoid star fruit if you have kidney problems. Star fruit can be very difficult to break down for people with chronic kidney disease. (source)
Star fruit has been around a long time in other countries but is only recently making it’s way to the United States. To have the best luck finding it, go to your local Asian grocery store since this fruit originates from Asia. There you’ll have the best selection and quality.
Even though it may seem strange, star fruit can be eaten, skin and all. Just make sure you remove any seeds you come across.
Have you tried star fruit? What’s your favorite way of eating it?