Star Fruit, also known as Carambola, is a tropical fruit that originated in Sri Lanka and the east Indonesian archipelago Molucca and is now produced in several Southeast Asian countries and the United States to a lesser extent.
When sliced in half vertically, this fruit with a unique winged shape looks like a star. It is known by different names, including balimbing, kamrakh, khế, nak fuang, five-finger, ma fueang, yang-táo, kamaranga, and zibline. It is native to Southeast Asia.
In 1887, parts of Florida were used to cultivate this fruit, but this variety was extremely sour and was only utilized for decorative purposes. Later, sweeter varieties came from Asia, and this fruit started to be consumed.
Star fruit is cultivated on a large scale in Hawaii and Florida, with small scale production in California. It’s also imported into the United States. India, Australia, Israel, Guyana, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, and the Philippines are among the
countries where star fruit is grown.
Star fruit is eaten raw, and food products like sauces and wines can be made from them as well. Certain dishes can be seasoned with star fruit.
On the other hand, people who developed kidney disease shouldn’t consume star fruit without first consulting with a medical practitioner due to its high oxalic acid level. In contrast, star fruit is highly regarded and sought after in India for its numerous medicinal properties.
Star Fruit Varieties
The star fruit name originates from the peculiar structure when cut, which results in around six ridges that combine to make a star-like shape. The flowers are close to pink in color and have five petals that can be either long or short in length.
There are two star fruit or carambola varieties: a small type that’s sour, and a large type this is sweet. The fruit’s appearance can be light yellow, bright yellows, orange, and even golden, and the color you get depends on the variety. It offers a combination of sweetness and tartness. When it comes to fresh fruit, sweet varieties are recommended, while both sweet and tart varieties are useful for processing and home dishes. Allowing some acidic cultivars, like ‘Golden Star,’ to ripen on the tree results in a sweeter flavor for the fruit later on (i.e., become golden yellow).
Some varieties like B-17 require cross-pollination to produce satisfactory yields. Cross-pollination is not required for Arkin, Golden Star, and Fwang Tung, which is why they are frequently planted in groups or blocks.
In addition to these, Hoku, Kary, Newcombe, Kajang, Sri Kembangan (Newcombe), Hew-1, Thayer, Kwang Tung (Lara, Maha), and Wheeler are popular varieties.
Health Benefits of Star Fruit
It Contains Essential Nutrients
Star fruit is proven to be low in calories and an excellent source of vitamins and other nutrients, as well as antioxidants, such as the ones listed below:
- vitamin B5
- vitamin C
It Has Anti-Cancer Properties
The health benefits of star fruit include its anti-cancer properties. According to a promising study, star fruit may be beneficial in the prevention of cancer. The fiber in star fruit helps lower toxin levels in the body, which helps minimize your risk of developing cancer.
It Has the Ability to Reduce Inflammation
It’s a good anti-inflammatory food since it contains high quantities of antioxidants. It can help to alleviate the symptoms of psoriasis and dermatitis, among other conditions.
It Promotes Healthy Weight Loss
The high fiber content of star fruit can aid in weight loss by increasing your metabolism and allowing you to burn more calories. Furthermore, because each serving contains fewer calories than a banana, you can enjoy star fruit as a delightful snack without worrying about piling on the calories.
It Has the Ability to Improve Immunity
When you consume star fruit, you will receive an increase in vitamin C, guaranteeing your body produces the appropriate number of white blood cells to support a healthy immune system.
It Improves Health of the Respiratory System
Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, this fruit can be used to alleviate sore throats and inflammation. Its juice can cut through mucous and phlegm, making it a popular choice for treating respiratory infections and promoting general health and wellness.
It Promotes Heart Health
Heart health has improved as a result of eating this. Star fruit contains significant levels of sodium and potassium, which work as electrolytes in our bodies, assisting in the maintenance of normal blood pressure. This also helps to maintain a normal heartbeat and healthy blood circulation.
As a result of the calcium in star fruit, you may have less strain in your blood vessels and arteries, which may lower your risk of having a heart attack or stroke.
It Improves Digestion
The fiber in star fruit can provide relief from constipation, bloating, cramping, and diarrhea by helping to pass stool through the digestive tract more quickly.
See more here: The Types of Carambola
Although star fruit includes a variety of beneficial nutrients, eating star fruit may hurt the health of persons who have kidney issues. People with healthy kidneys can process and move this toxin out of their bodies, but this is impossible for people with kidney disease. The toxin remains in the body and causes health issues in people with illnesses.
It contains neurotoxins, which are harmful compounds that cause neurological damage. These substances have the potential to harm the brain and cause neurological problems.
Large amounts of star fruit can be poisonous. Some symptoms of star fruit overdose include hiccups, mental confusion, seizures, and even death (in severe cases).
If you have renal disease, you must avoid eating star fruit and consult with your doctor to learn more about the effects of star fruit and any other fruits about which you may have concerns about their nutritional value.
It is also recommended that people who use prescription drugs check with their doctor before consuming star fruit.
How to Eat Star Fruit
When the star fruit is ripe, it has the best flavor. Unripe star fruit may taste overly sour or even harsh, so wait for it to ripen.
If you purchase a green-ribbed star fruit, you should allow it to ripen until it turns golden yellow. Keep the fruit at room temperature, turning it occasionally until the fruit’s fragrant “perfume” begins to develop. It is important to smell for a strong floral-fruity aroma, indicating that the fruit is at its peak flavor.
You may easily use star fruit by just following these steps:
- Cutting off the margins without tearing the skin
- Slicing it horizontally after cleaning it with water
In addition, you can try combining the fruit with other fruits such as avocados, kiwis, mangoes, and bananas in a fruit salad or a puree.
You may use star fruit slices as an edible garnish by sautéing them for a second or two and then sprinkling them with sugar to glaze them. This goes well with fish and poultry meals, and you can also use it as a substitute for lemon or lime slices when garnishing chilled drinks.
Other methods to consume star fruit include:
- Slicing it and eating it on its own.
- Add to salads or other light foods for a refreshing touch.
- It can be used as a garnish.
- You can use it to make pies or puddings.
- Use it to flavor stews and curries that are Asian or Indian in flavor.
- It goes well with seafood or shellfish meals, for example.
- Make jam, jelly, or chutney from scratch.
- Make a juice out of it and consume it as a beverage.
This low-calorie fruit is enriched in vitamin C, fiber, and antioxidants, and it is a delightful, nutritious snack or meal replacement.
It is recommended that anyone with kidney difficulties or those who use prescription medications check with their doctor before consuming this fruit.