Star fruit, also known as carambola, can be found in abundance in?Southeast Asia?where it is heavily cultivated. The yellow fruit grows on trees in India, Asia, South America, Australia, and the southern United States, but it's enjoyed raw and cooked all over the world. While it's frequently used as a garnish due to its fun shape, it also adds a sweet flavour to a number of dishes like salads and juices.
The carambola plant is believed to be 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. The yellow, oval-shaped fruit has ridges and looks like a star when sliced. Depending on the variety, it can vary slightly in size and colour, 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.
Star fruit does not require peeling, making it a quick and easy snack. For the sweetest fruit, look for star fruit that is bright yellow in colour and lightly browned on the edge of the ridges. Green fruit tastes slightly more acidic, and what ripeness you choose will depend on your personal preference. Unripe fruit will continue to ripen after it's picked. Regardless of ripeness, choose star fruit that is free of blemishes and brown spots.
Washed fruit can be sliced to reveal the star shape by placing the fruit flat on a cutting board. Remove both ends with a knife and cut across the ridges into slices. The seeds are technically edible but not tasty, so remove them with your fingers or a small knife. Star fruit 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 savoury dishes like fish and shrimp. In Australia, the unripe or ripe fruit is cooked as a side dish, pickled, or turned into a chutney or relish. Star fruit can also be dried
Star fruit has a sweet flavour 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 flavour.