In this detailed guide, you’ll find answers to every question you’ve ever had about the unique, tropical star fruit. Discover what it is and what it tastes like. Also, learn how to cut star fruit correctly and the many ways to eat it.
I’m very excited to be sharing this exotic and delicious tropical fruit with you all. It’s a favorite snack and ingredient in my house. All it takes is one taste to fall in love!
Star fruit is a unique, fun, and tasty tropical food that can be used in so many ways. The sweet and tart flavor make them easy to enjoy raw, but also can add a punch of flavor into many different recipes.
In this guide I’ve shared everything a newcomer to star fruit needs to know to feel comfortable bringing them home to eat. From what they are, how to pick the best ones, and ways to eat them, you’ll feel confident picking one up next time you see them.
What is Carambola?
Let’s start at the beginning. Starfruit is a tropically grown fruit that’s native to Southeast Asia. It also commonly goes by the name carambola. As it’s grown in popularity, it has spread around the world, and is now grown in the Caribbean, the US, and many other warm climates.
There are two different star fruit varieties, one small, and one large. They’re well-loved for the fun shape, enticing flavor, and for how easy it is to prepare.
What does Star Fruit Taste Like?
Kids may love the 5 pointed star shape, but adults will also love carambola once you take that first bite. They have a refreshingly light, crisp texture, much like an apple or pear, but are juicy thanks to the high water content.
Many people compare the flavor to a cross between a sweet fruit and citrus. They can range from tart to very sweet, depending on the variety and how ripe they are.
Try imagining a crisp apple, juicy grape, and squeeze of lemon all wrapped into one adorable, star-shaped package.
If the flavor wasn’t enticing enough, star fruit is also really good for you! It’s a sweet snack you can enjoy often with zero guilt.
They’re excellent sources of antioxidants, fiber, vitamin C, and A, while being naturally low carb and low calorie too. They’re great for blood sugar and are even believed to reduce inflammation.
It should be noted that star fruit can adversely affect people with kidney problems, or those on certain prescription drugs. If that’s you, a doctor can advise you better on how much star fruit is safe to consume.
How to Pick a Star Fruit
When you’re staring at the bin of carambola you might wonder how to choose a good one. Thankfully it’s pretty easy!
There are smaller varieties that are naturally more sour. The larger ones are going to be sweeter.
But sweetness is also determined by ripeness. You can tell a fruit is ripe by looking at the color. A ripe star fruit should be bright yellow, with little to no green. The ridges may even begin to brown once ripe.
If you can only find green ones, don’t worry. They will ripen much like tomatoes when left on your kitchen counter for a few days.
Where Can I Buy it?
Thanks to their year-round production and popular flavor, odds are good you’ll be able to find star fruit at your local grocery store. If you live in a warm weather region, you may even be able to pick one up at your local farmer’s market.
Of course, if you’re having trouble locating one, you can also check out specialty stores. Asian markets or those known to carry imported goods from tropical regions are good places to look.
How to Cut a Star Fruit
One of the best things about fresh star fruit is how easy it is to prepare. The entire fruit is edible, skin, seeds, and flesh included.
That being said, the outer edges can be tough and fibrous as they age, so many prefer to lightly trim the star points, especially if they’re brown, and discard them. Use a cutting board and a sharp knife for that. You’ll also want to trim off either end.
After that, simply slice! The seeds, while safe to consume, are not particularly tasty, so just pop those out of the slices before eating.
How to Eat Star Fruit
Carambola is widely enjoyed as a raw, fresh fruit across the world. There’s certainly nothing wrong with buying them just to snack on.
But they’re actually pretty versatile! We love to whip up refreshing glasses of star fruit juice, and they work well in smoothies too.
They’re tasty when tossed raw into sweet or savory preparations, like my star fruit salad with feta and onion, or as garnishes to cocktails and other beverages.
Or, try them out in your cooking! They can be used to make relishes, pickles, and other preserves and some cultures love to use them in various dishes such as curries. Or, they can be baked into delicious desserts as well. There are so many tasty star fruit recipes to try, just enjoy experimenting.
So next time you’re at the market and see the oblong, star-shaped fruits near the other tropical produce, give them a go. Taste them when they’re ripe and fresh and I know you’ll be just as hooked as we are!