FWNAB: Carambola (or Star Fruit)
The Carambola – also known as ‘star fruit’ because of its almost perfect cross-section shape – is native to South East Asia, and popular all over the Asian continent.
There are two slightly different varieties of this fruit: a sweet one and a sour one.
Indian Carambola is generally a little bit more sour, and bright yellow when ripe.
The sweeter Carambola comes mostly from China and is normally bright green even when ripe. (Source)
I guess the one we bought was from the second group! (At least I hope so!)
This fruit is completely edible, skin included, but it is advised to trim the ribs to remove the darker green edge, which can be quite bitter.
This fruit has many health benefits as it contains Potassium, antioxidants, fibers, and Vitamin C. Despite being a tropical fruit, it is also very low in calories.
People with kidney problems, however, or people taking certain medicines, should avoid eating it, as it contains Oxalic acid, which could be harmful in particular situations. (Source)
Some people seem to think that the qualities of this fruit are mostly decorative, because it does not taste of much.
The one we ate had a very delicate flavour indeed, somehow similar to apples, however the overall taste was lovely.
Thanks to its fresh notes, this fruit is also used in the preparation of many perfumes and beauty products.
There are really plenty of recipes featuring this versatile fruit, and not only for its pretty shape: Carambola Chicken Salad, Carambola sauce for Salmon, Scallops and Steak, an Upside down cake, Crepes, Bread, a Mango-Orange-Star Fruit Sauce, a Thai Rose Petal Salad, a Crab salad, a Shrimp salad, a Caprese, obviously Jam but also chutney, and several Tropical Smoothies.
I can’t wait to prepare my own lovely meal with the help of this beautiful fruit!