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Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Starfruit Revisited

Starfruit Revisited:

About:

Starfruit (Carambola), is a species of tree native to the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, India, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka.   Carambola has distinctive ridges (usually five) running down its sides and when cut cross-section resembles a star.   The skin is thin, smooth, and waxy, and turns light to dark yellow when ripe.   The entire fruit is edible, and usually eaten out of hand, but it may be used in cooking,  and can be made into relishes, preserves and juice drinks.  The taste of the starfruit has been likened to a mix of apples, pears and citrus family fruits.   Most starfruit comes from Malaysia, but it is also grown in Israel, tropical Africa, Taiwan,  the Caribbean, and throughout South America, as well as California and Florida.


Varieties:

There are two kinds of starfruit: sour and sweet.  The sour variety has narrowly spaced ribs and is used mainly for cooking to give a unique tart flavor to poultry meats, and seafood.   The sweet starfruit has thick fleshy ribs , and is used for eating out of hand or mixed with other fruits in fresh salads.


Health Benefits:

Carambola is rich in antioxidants, particularly potassium and vitamin C,  low in sugar, sodium, and acid.   It is also rich in flavonoids and soluble fiber.   Carambola also contains antimicrobial activities.  Extracts of the fruit proved to have antimicrobial activity against Bacillus cerlus, E. coli, Salmonella typhi, and Staphylococcus aureus. 


Season:

Starfruit are available  from January to May and then again from July to October. 

Selecting and Storing:

  Pick firm, shiny fruit with even color.  Avoid fruit that has brown shriveled ribs.  You may store ripe starfruit at room temperature for 2 or 3 days or refrigerate, unwashed, in a plastic bag for up to a week.  Ripening fruit should be turned frequently to allow all the ribs to turn bright yellow

Using:

When you are ready to use, wash thoroughly in cold water.  Pat dry.  Trim off the ends and any dry edges.  Cut fruit cross way in thin sections.  For a beautiful fruit platter arrange  bright green slices of kiwi, slices of golden starfruit and ripe red strawberries. 
Carambola are a nutritious, low calorie fruit, and are a great addition to many dishes.
Why not try them:

  • In fruit, vegetable, or chicken salad
  • In stir fry's
  • In desserts such as starfruit upside down cake, or added to creme' brulee, or dipped in chocolate
  • Blended and added to other juices
  • As a chutney combined with other fruit onions, raisins and spices
  • As a garnish

Personal Concerns:

Carambola contains oxalic acid which may be harmful to persons sufferings from kidney failure, kidney stones, or to those under kidney dialysis.   If your kidneys are healthy, though,  there is no concern, they filter out the oxalic acid. 

So....... Eat up!  Enjoy!  I'll show you how.

Simple but Good:


Carambola and Lettuce Salad
1 head of Romaine Lettuce, washed and dried 
2 large or 3 medium Carambolas sliced
2 TBS Balsamic Vinegar 
4 TBS olive oil 
2 TBS chopped mint 
Salt and pepper to taste 

 On a plate fan out the lettuce leaves, going all the way around making a ring and making a second layer if needed. Larger leaves first and smaller ones subsequently. Lay the carambola slices in the center. Combine the vinegar, olive oil, chopped mint, salt and pepper and drizzle over the salad. or drizzle a little bit over the carambola slices and serve the rest on the side so people can help themselves. This amount can serve four salads as starters or six small ones as a side dish.


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