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Exploring Jamaican Foods: Star Fruit (Carambola)

Star Fruit carambola tree

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.

Carambola taste

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.

how to eat carambola star fruit

 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.

starfruit benefits

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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  1. Thanks for sharing this interesting article about star fruit benefits. I love learning about the health benefits of different foods and this one is no exception. Where I am from, we always make a juice out of it, but lots of sugar gets added though. Thanks for sharing

  2. I’ve seen star fruit at my local grocer but I had no idea what to do with these. After reading this article on the fruits health benefits I am inspired try one!

  3. What a great article, this is one of the foods I only know as imported fruit in stores, how fascinating to read more about this beautiful and tasteful fruit.

  4. Oh wow. I wish I would’ve known about this fruit when we visited Jamaica years ago. The Star Fruit looks delicious!

  5. I’ve never tried a star fruit before but I have seen them! I didn’t know the flesh can be eaten, too. That makes them so easy. I love green grapes so I’ll have to try these if the taste is similar.

    • Make sure to get the yellow ones, they are fully ripe because the green ones can be really sour depending on the time of year it is harvested

  6. We also have star fruit and star apples in the Philippines. I love these fruits and used to eat them a lot growing up.

  7. The way you presented the information was clear, concise, and easy to understand. I appreciate how you backed up your claims with scientific evidence and included delicious recipe ideas to try.

  8. I’m absolutely in awe of this! Learning about the Star Fruit and its benefits is so fascinating. It’s amazing that you shared your childhood memory with us and introduced us to this exotic fruit. I think the star shape is awesome, and a bonus to this nutritious delicacy. Thanks a lot for taking the time to educate us on Jamaican cuisine!

  9. I remember growing up in the Caribbean, and eating this Star fruit! I can’t get it now living here in TX, but when I do visit hopefully I can bring it back and use your suggestions for storing.

  10. I first tried star fruit in Singapore. I’ve used it in smoothies since. So glad it’s easier to find in USA nowadays.

  11. Ooohhhh….thank you for sharing about this fruit. I don’t think I have seen it before. I will definitely give it a try, when I see it at the market here.

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