The Jamaican fruit star apple, which comes from the Chrysophyllum cainito tree, gets its name from the star like shape of the core that can be seen when the fruit is cut open across the middle.
Being a tropical fruit, the start apple only grow in hot climate and is said to be a native of the West Indies and central America. The star apple tree can grow up to 70 feet or more. The tree usually start bearing fruit only after 5-6 years.
But once the tree is mature enough to produce fruit, the start apple tree bear in season between March to June.
When in season, the star apple tree is a prolific fruit bearer. However, start apple fruit do not fall to the ground and have to be handpicked.
In Jamaica, if someone is being referred to as a “star apple” know that this person is tight and do not like to share because the start apple fruit would rather stay on the tree, shrivel and dry up instead of fallen to the ground and be eaten.
There are two types of the Jamaican fruit start apple; one with a dark purple skin and the other has a green skin – even when ripe. The pulp of the dark purple variety is white with lavender peripheral and the green skin fruit has an all white pulp.
Personally, I am not a big fan of the Jamaican fruit star apple because of the amount of latex that is left around your mouth and on your teeth after eating it. Also, I do not fine the star apple to be a very sweet fruit. However, if it is very ripe it can be tasty and I find the one with the purple skin to be sweeter.
Unlike other places such as in India where the star apple is use to make smoothies and other meals, we Jamaicans like to eat the fresh fruit.