Starfruit, also known as carambola, can be found in abundance in Southeast Asia, where it is heavily cultivated. It is native to Indonesia and flourishes in sunny, humid climates. It is harvested twice a year, typically in late fall and late spring, but can be found year-round. When sliced, the yellow, oval-shaped fruit has ridges and looks like a star. Depending on the variety, it can vary slightly in size and color, from light yellow-green to bright yellow. The entire star fruit can be eaten, including the waxy skin, making it easy to prepare and especially good for eating raw and using for decoration. Starfruit has a sweet flavor with a slightly sour undertone and a juicy, firm flesh like a grape. The fruity taste is difficult to describe, landing somewhere between ripe pear, green grape, and orange. Unripe fruits are firmer and tarter, more like a green apple in flavor.
Starfruit can be eaten as is, added to fruit or vegetable salads, used as a garnish for dishes or cocktails, and more. In Southeast Asia, it's often stewed with sugar and spices like cloves or used in savory dishes like fish and shrimp. In Thailand, starfruits are salted and pickled. Starfruits can also be dried.
Store ripe unwashed fruit in the refrigerator for up to a month. Some Carambola varieties will keep for up to two weeks at room temperature.
1 starfruit, seeds removed
1/2 juice of a lime
2 cups spinach