The star fruit is also known as carambola, and when cut across its middle it takes the shape of a five-pointed star thus, the name 'star fruit'. It is the fruit of the tree Averrhoa carambola, which as mentioned, is a native species of India, Indonesia and Sri Lanka, but is gaining popularity in the United States. The flavor of this fruit is a combination of the taste of fruits such as the plum, pineapple, and lemon. However, some people find the taste similar to that of a mix of papaya, orange and grapefruit. One can consume the star fruit entirely. It has a waxy skin which is green when raw, and golden-yellow when ripe. Above all, it is extremely juicy.
Facts About the Carambola
The fruit is high in dietary fiber, Vitamin C, copper, pantothenic acid and potassium. It is low in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium. The table given below enlists the star fruit nutritional values for a serving size of 125 g.
(Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet)
Star fruit comes in two varieties; sweet (with 5% sugars) and tart (with 1% acid). The sweet star fruit season falls in summer to late winter, and that of the tart variety is from late summer to midwinter. Fruits which are unripe can be ripened at room temperature until the fruits become glowing gold.
|Total Fat||0 g|
|Saturated Fat||0 g|
|Total Carbohydrates||10 g|
|Dietary Fiber||3 g|
Warm, high humidity climate favors growing star fruit trees. Rainfall all year round promote healthy growth and rich production of fruits. Places with 70 inch annual rainfall are ideal for growing these trees. Although, these trees can grow in all soil types, they prefer friable and slightly acidic soil for better growth and productivity. It is to be ensured that the soil must provide a good drainage.
The usual propagation of the star fruit tree is done by planting its seeds. Before being sown, the seeds must be cleaned, dried and must be sown fresh. Prior to growing the seeds in outdoor soils, it is better to sow them in small pots or containers. Damp peat moss is good for the purpose. When the seedlings appear, they can be transplanted outdoors, and the pots can be used as root-stock. In summer, germination will take about 5 - 7 days, while in winter, 12 - 18 days. Moderate amount of watering is required for growing a star fruit tree. Do not over water nor let it to go dry. Fertilizer such as organic compost/manure is recommended.
Star Fruit Health Benefits
- One of the most important benefits of star fruit is reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases. This is because of the fruit's high content of polyphenol antioxidants. These antioxidants are also known to help in the prevention of cancer.
- The fruit helps in lowering cholesterol.
- It prevents and treats constipation as it helps add bulk and moisture to feces.
- It helps in managing symptoms of jaundice.
- Given its anti microbial property, the fruit also shows promising results in treating infection caused by bacteria such as staph, salmonella, and e coli.
- The water extracted from the leaves and roots by boiling, helps in the treatment of headaches, ringworm, and chickenpox.
- Manages hangover, and prickly heat in summers.
- Star fruit is also known for its property of treating sore eyes, and stimulating milk in nursing mothers.
- Scientists believe that this fruit might have a significant role to play in slowing down aging thus, delaying the onset of signs such as wrinkling or sagging of skin.
- Sunstroke, nausea, indigestion, and symptoms of colds and flu can be managed by the help of this fruit.
- Helpful in losing weight.
The star fruit, although, provides so many health benefits, may also cause undesirable side effects in some people. These people are those with kidney problems, most commonly, chronic renal failure or those who are under kidney dialysis treatment. The fruit is abundant in oxalic acid which is the main source of concern, and that is the reason even a minimal amount of it can do a lot of harm. Insomnia, hiccups, agitation, muscle weakness, confusion, consciousness disturbances, and seizures have been reported by people after ingesting the fruit.
This was all about the star fruit facts which encompassed its nutritional values, cultivation, health benefits and a few side effects as well. Before I sign off, while you are shopping for these stars, look for large, plump, firm, crispy, shiny, and the well-shaped ones!