What Is A Star Fruit

Learn all about the five-pointed, sometimes-pucker-inducing tropical fruit, and how to use it in the kitchen.


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Description: The name of this tropical fruit (also called the carambola and the star apple) comes from the five-pointed star shape, visible when the fruit is cut crosswise. Star fruit is approximately three to five inches long and has paper-thin, translucent skin, ribbed and colored yellow-orange to green. Star fruit grow on 25- to 30-foot-high bushy trees. 

Flavor Profile: Depending on the variety, star fruit range in taste from pleasantly tart and sour to slightly sweet with a flavor combination that’s a cross between apples, grapes, and citrus fruits. It is difficult visually to tell the sweet and tart varieties apart, but typically the tart varieties have ribs that are narrowly spaced, and sweet varieties have thicker, fleshier ribs.

Origins: Originally native to Sri Lanka and the Moluccas (an archipelago in Indonesia), the fruit is now also grown in Florida, Hawaii, Central and South America, and throughout the Caribbean.

How to Use: The star fruit does not require peeling or seeding before eating. It can be used in salads, smoothies, and preserves.  

Star Fruit Intoxication: Besides celebrity status, what do Neil Simon, Steven Spielberg, and Tracy Morgan have in common? They all have had issues with their kidneys and thus should never eat star fruit. The fruit contains a neurotoxin that affects people with kidney disease and could result in nausea, vomiting, insomnia, mental confusion, convulsions, and the dreaded persistent hiccups.

 

 

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