Monday, January 11, 2010

Starfruit (Carambola) is one of the most talked about and recognizable exotic fruits in the world. It's a delicious, invigorating fruit, especially on a hot day or after a hard workout. At the same time this wonderful fruit can be lacklustre and tasteless if it's not bought or ripened properly. I have talked with a lot of customers that were left with a disappointed feeling after their first taste.

The important thing to do when trying a new kind of fruit is to ask someone in the produce department these five questions:

  1. What does it taste like?
  2. How do I handle it?
  3. How do I ripen it?
  4. How do I eat it?
  5. How do I store it?

If there's noone who can answers these questions, the internet is a good alternative to look for the answers.

What doe it taste like?

I think is has a flavor combination of green grapes and granny smith apples. The first taste is sweetness with the wonderful afterbite of a sour apple but not overly sour. The flesh is soft like a ripe, firm plum and the juice will run down your chin and squirt all about if you're not careful lol!

How do I handle it?

Starfruit is delicate and should be handled gently. Don't squeeze it because it will leave bruises on the flesh and won't ripen properly.

How do I ripen it?

Like most fruit sold today there is more than one grade. You're looking for fruit with green ridges and yellowing flesh without any brown discoloration on the flesh. I don't suggest buying ripe starfruit unless it's at a public market and picked that day. Remove the fruit from any bags and leave it on your counter or in a fruit bowl at room temperature. As it ripens the ridges of the fruit will turn brown, that's okay. When the flesh of the fruit turns completely yellow it's ready to be eaten.

How do I eat it?

Take a paring knife and cut the thin brown ridges off the ripe fruit and then slice it crosswise to eat in star shaped wedges. There are a few seeds that look similar to apple seeds that can be eaten or spit out. In many photos you will notice the fruit is sliced with green edges, starfruit can be eaten at any stage depending on your personal tastes. The more yellow the flesh...the sweeter the fruit.

How do I store it?

After the fruit is ripe if you haven't eaten it all already, it can now be stored in your refrigerator. This will dampen the ripening process and extend the life of the fruit by about 5 - 7 days. You probably don't want to store it any longer than this because the fruit will start to dry out and lose its appeal.

Starfruit contains oxalic acid which can harm people suffering from kidney failure or on dialysis. Symptoms can range from hiccups, vomiting, nausea and mental confusion to death. So a good way to off your better half if you get the urge. Just kidding!


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