Exploring Jamaican Foods: Star Fruit (Carambola). In this week’s highlight of Jamaican food, I am excited to share this fruit that was a childhood memory growing up. The Star Fruit, also known as (Averrhoa Carambola), is a popular exotic fruit that will make an exquisite addition to your dishes.
What is Star Fruit (Carambola)?
Star fruit is popularly enjoyed as juice or an ingredient to enhance the flavour of any tasty recipe. The fruit earned its name from its distinct shape when sliced, which resembles a star. Star fruit (Averrhoa carambola), or carambola, is a tropical fruit native to Southeast Asia. Star fruit is now grown in other tropical regions worldwide, including Jamaica. While in Jamaica, you may also hear locals calling star fruit ‘Jimbilin’. In Jamaica, the star fruit season runs from June to February, with the peak season generally being late summer. However, there are a few fruits available throughout the year.
Star fruits are about 3 to 6 inches long, with 5 to 7 ridges running down their sides. When star fruit matures, the skin will change from green to vibrant yellow. The skin of the starfruit is smooth and waxy. When ripe, the star fruit has crisp, juicy, yellow flesh. The flavour of star fruits is similar to green grapes, with a delightful balance of sourness and sweetness.
How to eat Star fruit
Eating star fruit (carambola) fresh off the tree is the best way to enjoy this tasty fruit. When star fruit is consumed raw, you obtain all its nutrients. The ideal star fruit is yellow with a hint of brown around the edges. At this stage, the fruit will be very sweet. All parts of the star fruit are edible, including the skin and seeds. However, you have the option to remove the skin and seed before consuming. You may also cut the star fruit into star shapes and include it in fruit salads.
Can you eat overripe Star Fruit
It is generally safe to eat slightly overripe star fruit. It may not offer the best texture or flavour compared to when it is at its peak ripeness. Overripe star fruit can easily become mushy and discoloured, with brown spots. Overripe star fruit loses its flavour and tastes more sour or fermented. If the star fruit is significantly overripe, you may want to discard it.
Can you juice Star Fruit
Starfruit is excellent for juicing! Star fruit can be turned into juice by simply following a recipe. You’ll find the classic combination of star fruit, lime, ginger, and sugar with a Jamaican star fruit juice recipe. Transfer your homemade star fruit juice to a clean, airtight container with tight lids to preserve it. The star fruit juice should be refrigerated and consumed within 3 to 4 days for optimal flavour.
Combining various fruits like pineapple, mango, orange, strawberry, and watermelon with star fruits can create new flavours for a delicious juice blend. Add herbs like mint and lemongrass to the star fruit drink recipe to make a mojito.
How to store the Star Fruit
Refrigerate ripe star fruit in zip-lock bags until you’re ready to eat it. Storing the ripe star fruit in the refrigerator will keep it fresher for up to a week. Star fruit that is not yet fully ripe can ripen at room temperature. At room temperature, a mature star fruit takes around two to three days before it’s ready to eat. If the fruit has yet to mature fully, it can take up to two weeks to ripen at room temperature. Once ripened, the starfruit typically has a limited shelf life of a few weeks before it becomes mouldy and spoils.
Does Star Fruit (Carambola) have nutritional benefits
The star fruit has many nutritional benefits, whether raw or as a juice. This tropical fruit is rich in antioxidants and essential nutrients. It is high in vitamin C, potassium, and calcium. With its high fibre content and low-calorie count, star fruit aids digestion and weight management. It has potential cardiovascular benefits, regulates blood pressure, and helps manage cholesterol levels. Star fruit also boosts energy and may improve skin health.
If you have kidney issues, it is best to seek advice from a health practitioner before consuming star fruit, even as a juice, despite its nutritional benefits. According to the National Kidney Foundation and studies found in BMC Research Notes, starfruit contains a natural compound that can harm individuals with compromised kidney function.
Disclaimer: The author makes no guarantees as to the curative effect of any herbs, fruits or plants on this website, and no visitor should attempt to use any of the information herein provided as treatment for any illness, weakness, or disease without first consulting a physician or health care provider. Pregnant women should always consult first with a health care professional before taking any treatment.
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