“Come quickly! I’m tasting the stars.” Dom Perrignon may have never seen or tasted starfruit, but we who have cannot deny the divine nature of this sweet celestial fruit. The very nature of the tree with its little dancing leaves, dainty pink flowers, and juicy fruit, evoke poetry.
Charlotte Royal was inspired to write this Haiku:
Coolness in Summer
Flavor of the clear night sky
Held within my hand
If you’ve never held this fruit within your hand or tasted its nectar on your palate then you are missing out. If you have, then count yourself blessed! Having grown up in Hawaii my childhood memories of collecting and eating starfruit linger in my mind like a soft summer rain. In fact every time late summer rolls around I scoop up all the fruit I can and quench my thirst on this scrumptious snack.
Starfruit Fun Facts
- The scientific name for starfruit is Averrhoa Carambola (hey, it rhymes!) Natures Pride states that Carambola was originally a Portuguese name, and goes back to the Sanskrit “karmara”, which means ‘food appetizer’.
- Its native home is in South East Asia. If you’ve ever traveled to Indonesia, Malaysia, India, and Sri Lanka, you most likely saw it at the market. Now it is distributed and grown anywhere there is a smidgin of a tropical climate. It thrives here in Hawaii.
- The cross section of the fruit is a five pointed star, hence its name. The flavor has been described as heavenly with a touch of papaya, orange, and grapefruit all at once.
- The fruit with its waxy peel is an excellent source of dietary fiber, which we all know keeps your colon healthy.
- An excellent source of vitamin C, and great for keeping your immune system in tip top shape.
- Star fruit is rich in antioxidant phyto-nutrient polyphenolic flavonoids. Some of the important flavonoids present are quercetin, epicatechin, and gallic acid. Altogether, these compounds help protect the body from free radicals.
- It’s a good source of B-complex vitamins such as folate, riboflavin, and pyridoxine (vitamin B-6). Together, these vitamins help with metabolism.
- It also carries small amounts of minerals and electrolytes like potassium, phosphorus, and zinc and iron. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids. It helps with controlling heart rate and blood pressure.
- For a more detailed description on nutrition facts, and calorie content, check out the report over at Nutrition and You.
Is your mouth watering yet? Just a few more things you’ll need to know…
Choose a ripe starfruit
When ripe, star fruit are bright yellow ( sometimes a little orange) with tinges of light green. They may have some dark brown along the five ridges – this is totally fine. The flesh should still be quite firm to the touch. You can also buy or pick star fruit when it’s green and wait for it to ripen – just leave it on your counter for a few days. When over-ripe, star fruit turns entirely yellow and starts to have brown spots all over.
Cut off the ridges and ends
Rinse off the star fruit. Keep in mind it has a natural waxy coat which won’t wash off. Hold the star fruit vertically over a cutting board. Using a sharp knife, cut very shallowly down along each of the five ridges (or “star points”). Turn it on its side and cut off the ends. Don’t forget to compost the pieces!
Slice the Starfruit
Now the fun part! You can cut it thick or thin, it’s up to you. Be sure to contemplate the deep mysteries of space and feel free to create your own constellation.
Remove the seeds (or not)
If you’d like to remove the seeds use the tip of your knife to gently wedge them out. Personally, I eat the seeds and I turned out…well, ok, nevermind.
Your star fruit is now ready to be eaten fresh, or added to salads (great in fruit salad). Star fruit is also excellent juiced. Use it as a beautiful garnish for cocktails, ice tea, lemonade, or water. Just make a slit in the side of a small star fruit slice and slide it onto the side of your glass. The possibilities are endless. You can even make starfruit chips!
If you live in a tropical or sub-tropical region then you’ve got to grow a starfruit tree. If you’ve got kids you have even more reason to do so. It’s fun to climb, pick and eat.
The starfruit tree thrives in a moisture rich environment and performs best with an even amount of rainfall all year round. While it needs a good watering be sure to give it good drainage; it cannot stand flooding.
The carambola does well in sandy, heavy clay or in limestone soils, but will grow faster and bear more heavily in a rich loam. It likes a slightly alkaline soil and they thrive with organic fertilizers and mulching.
Starfruit trees require spacing of 25 feet or more.
Lastly, be sure to plant it somewhere where it can recieve full sun.
Starfruit Trees at Kauai Seascapes Nursery
The best way to ensure that you get your starfruit quota is to invest in a tree and plant it on your property. The Starfruit is a beautiful, easy to grow, early bearing tree. We have 3 Varieties available, all of which produce delectably delicious stellar starfruit. And get this…
We’re giving you $5 Off Starfruit Trees in October and November
So come on up, and select the tree that puts a sparkle in your eye!