Category Archives: Starfruit

How To Eat Starfruit

Starfruit is a delicious and exotic tropical fruit found in Southeastern Asia. With a rich yellow color and hints of green, the most unique part of this fruit is the shape for which it was named: when cut horizontally into cross sections, the slices form perfect stars. Star fruit has a tangy and sweet taste when ripe, and is also a great source of Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, an important antioxidant that fights off the harmful compounds called free radicals and gives your immune system an extra boost.

starfruits

When cut apart, this unique fruit produces star-shaped slices.

However, eating star fruit may be intimidating at first, as it is not a very common food in the western world. The ripest star fruit will be bright yellow all over, with a few splashes of green—which is common. Don’t be put off by brown streaks on the flesh, as this is normal in star fruits, but be careful of them, as too many brown spots or streaks and no green could mean that the star fruit is overripe.

Now for starfruit preparation!  Of course, the first thing to do once you’ve picked a good star fruit is to wash it thoroughly as you would with any fruit. Next, take a sharp, thin knife and shear off the tips of each ridge that sticks out from the fruit. If you have picked a good fruit, this should get rid of most of the green or brown. Next, slice off the two tips of the oblong star fruit and discard them. By now there should be no more green or brown left on the fruit.

Now you can just put the starfruit down and slice it into cross-sections, which should be shaped like stars. You may notice a small dark pit or seed in a few of these pieces. With the knife, peel these seeds out and discard them. The slices can be cut thick or thin, as with any other fruit. The sweet and distinct flavor of starfruit can be played with, and you can put slices of star fruit in fruit salad, smoothies, a juice drink, yogurt, or just eat them plain, as they are a delicious fruit after all.

Health Benefits of Starfruit

Just a while ago I wrote a post introducing you all to a very unique fruit, the starfruit, which is also known as the carambola.  Once again, the starfruit truly is a very unique and exotic fruit.  Just take a look at its shape, and you’ll know why.  In my last post on the starfruit, I touched a bit on the health benefits that it provides, but I’ll devote this entire blog post to the starfruit’s health benefits.

You can read my introductory post here: Starfruit: Introduction and Health Benefits

Vitamins and minerals

Starfruits are usually eaten fresh, by themselves, as well as in juice form.  Fortunately, both these methods of eating starfruits save most of the nutrients, which the starfruit is packed with.

Starfruit is very rich in vitamin A and vitamin C.  These vitamins are known to help with night vision as well as strengthen your immune system, respectively.  In addition, the starfruit, unlike many other fruits, also is a very rich source of iron.  Finally, like some other exotic fruits, the starfruit also boosts exceedingly high fiber content.  In today’s world of processed foods, natural and good fiber is hard to come by, but one single starfruit (around 125 grams) provides as much as 5 grams of fiber!

Cholesterol levels

Studies on the carambola have shown that they help in regulating cholesterol levels in the body.  For example, properties within the starfruit help increase the amount of HDL (or good) cholesterol while lowering the amount of LDL (bad) cholesterol within the body.

Various ailments

The starfruit has traditionally been used in folk medicine by many cultures around the world to treat various ailments.  These vary from headaches to ringworm to diseases such as chickenpox.  Traditionally, cultures have used a combination of the leaves and roots of the starfruit plant for such purposes.

Colds and flu

The starfruit, because of its excellent supply of vitamin C, even rivalling that of citrus fruits, helps prevent and fight colds as well as the flu.

Dieting and weight loss

The starfruit is an excellent fruit to eat under any weight loss or dieting plan.  Not only is it low in calories, it is great tasting and all natural, unlike the processed foods you get in most diet plans.  Not only that, it is also high in natural fiber!

More health benefits

The carambola is high in antioxidants and flavonoids, nutrients that are crucial to maintaining a healthy body but are unfortunately hard to get in processed foods.  In addition, starfruit has also been known to help with nausea and indigestion.

Further reading

  1. [amazon asin=1931686807&text=Field Guide to Produce: How to Identify, Select, and Prepare Virtually Every Fruit and Vegetable at the Market]
  2. [amazon asin=1425912354&text=Organic Cooking: Eating Well: 300 Simple Organic Gourmet Recipes for a Healthier Life]

Starfruit: Nutrition and Health Benefits

The starfruit, also known as the carambola, is quite a unique fruit: great-tasting, interestingly looking, a deep part of culture, and providing great health benefits.  The starfruit is native to regions of both Southeast and South Asia, as well as islands in the South Pacific.  Nowadays, the starfruit is grown all around the world in tropical regions, and even in warmer regions of the United States!

Starfruit - Photo credit: SMasters

The shape of the starfruit is very interesting – the starfruit usually has five ridges running down its side.  When cut, the starfruit forms the shape of a star, when looking at a cross-section.

The carambola has been cultivated in many parts of Asia for hundreds, if not thousands, of years, and is a huge part of Southeast Asian culture and medicine.  It is believed that the starfruit either originated near Sri Lanka or the Moluccas of Indonesia.

It may be hard to get your hands on fresh starfruit in the US, since starfruits are not allowed to be imported from Malaysia due to concerns about pests and pathogens.  However, carambolas are grown in various warm and tropical regions of the US, such as Hawaii and Florida.

Unlike most other tropical fruits, the starfruit is completely edible, including the skin.  The edible skin has an interesting, wax-like texture.  The flesh of the starfruit has a texture that is similar to that of the grape, but is also crunchy and firm.  The extremely juicy flesh of the starfruit boasts a very interesting and unique taste – the starfruit seems to taste like a mix of apples, pears, and citrus fruits.

Some prefer to eat unripened starfruits.  Unripe starfruits have a taste similar to the green apple, and are more sour and firm.

The starfruit provides some basic health benefits, as well as some very unique disease-fighting properties.  To start off, the vitamin C and antioxidant content of the carambola is extremely high, a trait shared by many exotic fruits.  However, another added perk of the starfruit is that it is low in sugar, sodium, and acid, which is great for weight-loss diets.  Another very interesting benefit that the starfruit provides is quite interesting – extracts from the starfruit show that they help prevent and fight many pathogens, including E. coli, Salmonella, and more!

It is important to note that the starfruit, similar to strawberries, does contain oxalic acid.  Oxalic acid does not have any negative effects in most humans, but it is harmful to people with kidney problems.  Thus, starfruit should be avoided by this portion of the population.

It is quite rare to find fresh starfruit in local grocery stores in the US, so it’s advised to purchase online: [amazon asin=B0000EIEY3&text=Melissa’s Fresh Star Fruits]