Carambola or Star Fruit
The birthplace of carambola is Southeast Asia. There, this exotic fruit is eaten just like we eat apples or cucumbers. And to taste, it is something in between an apple, a gooseberry and a cucumber. In Europe, carambola is also quite popular due to its unusual shape. The fact is that this yellow-green ribbed fruit in cross section has the shape of a star. Therefore, carambola is also called star fruit. It is enough to cut it across, and the decoration for any table is ready.
Carambola has a sweet and sour refreshing taste and contains a lot of liquid, so it is an excellent way to quench your thirst.
In different countries, carambola has different names, among them “cannon”, “starfruit”, “gherkin”, “fifth corner” and “star apple. This fruit grows in India, Ghana. Indonesia, Polynesia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and other countries. Carambola is also grown in southern America, the state of Florida, and the Hawaiian Islands. It is brought to Russia from Brazil, Israel and Thailand.
One of the advantages of starfruit is its low calorie content, only 34-35 kcal per 100 g of fruit. The fruits are quite a lot of calcium, phosphorus, iron, sodium, magnesium and potassium. It also contains a lot of vitamin C, thiamine, riboflavin, beta-carotene and pantothenic acid. Not much is known about the benefits of carambola for human health. However, the composition of the fruit speaks for itself – it is an excellent source of vitamins and minerals.
In Asia, carambola is used for weak immunity, vitamin deficiency, headaches, fever, colic and constipation. Pretty much starfruit and oxalic acid. Of course, it is also useful for humans, but people with kidney or digestive diseases should not get carried away with this fruit. But in Sri Lanka, for example, people very successfully use the acid contained in to remove stains from clothes. Also with the help of starfruit polish copper and brass.
How to choose carambola
Asians most value the not-so-ripe sour fruits, whose narrow ribs are clearly separated. But lovers of sweet fruits need to look for light yellow or yellow-green carambola, with fleshy side ribs and a dark brown strip on them. In such fruits there is a very small acidity, and in smell they slightly resemble jasmine flowers. It is almost impossible to describe the taste of carambola, someone compares it with a cucumber and gooseberry, someone with grapes and plums, and some clearly feel the taste of orange and apple. Of course, it is best to try this amazing fruit and find something different in its taste. Unfortunately, in Russian stores you cannot find starfruit ripened to the end on a tree. Like many other fruits, they pluck it and send it to us still immature, and it ripens already on the road. But otherwise you just can’t bring the carambol. But it can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.
How to eat carambola
We already know that star fruit can be used to decorate salads, cocktails or ice cream and that it is delicious in itself. However, this is not all of its advantages. In different countries, this fruit is used to prepare a variety of dishes. The most common carambola food will add a mysterious exotic taste and aroma. In Sri Lanka, carambola is eaten raw, directly with the peel. But the Chinese are very fond of cooking fish with starfruit. A delicious sorbet is made in Hawaii by mixing the juice of carambola and lemon and adding gelatin to it. In general, carambola juice can be added to cocktails, mixed with sappelsin, pineapple or mango juice.
You can make carambola sauce, which is perfect for meat. To prepare it, you need to mix crushed starfruit with horseradish, celery, vinegar and spices. And you can shift the pieces of stew into thin pieces of carambola. It will simultaneously give an unusual taste to the dish and decorate it.
Unripe carambola is used as a vegetable. You can stew it with other vegetables and get a delicious stew. It is also pickled and salted. All kinds of mashed potatoes, puddings, jellies, juices and other dishes are made from sweet fruits. In South Asia, sour carambola flowers are also used for food, adding them to salads.