Carambola

Carambola

Synonyms:
Star fruit, Coromandel gooseberry
Plural:
Carambolas, Star fruits, Coromandel gooseberries
Family:
Oxalidaceae – Wood sorrel family
Species:
Averrhoa carambola

Plant

Carambolas are closely related to bilimbis, cucumber trees or tree sorrels (Averrhoa bilimbi) and belong to the same family as the common wood sorrel and spinach dock, but they grow into about 10 m high trees. Thick fruit bundles develop from the dense panicles with pink to magenta-coloured blossoms.

Origin

Carambolas come from the tropics of South-East Asia - Malaysia in particular - and are domestically produced in all tropical countries.

Importations

All the year round from Brazil. Other countries that export are Thailand, Israel and Malaysia.

Fruit

Edible:
The whole fruit.
Odeur:
They are neutral to fruity.
Flavour:
Sweet and sour.
Size and shape:
They are up to 12 cm long and oval with five longitudinal ridges.
Bowl:
From greenish-yellow to full-yellow and appear luminous.
Flesh:
A translucent and juicy fruit that is yellow with small seeds much like in pears.
Ripeness:
The skin becomes amber with brown peaks and points; the flesh is juicy, refreshing and firm.
Overripe fruits:
The shell has big brown blotches.
Unripe fruits:
The skin becomes greenish or green yellow. The flesh is acidic and has lost its aroma.

Usage

It may be consumed raw, used in cake layers or decoration, put into sweet and hearty salads, punch and long drinks. It can also be stewed as compote or boiled down for jam.

Storage

Ripe fruits last about 3 days at room temperature and are post-matured at room temperature.

Tip

People who have kidney ailments, heart conditions or an immune mediated disease should not eat immature Carambolas because of their high amounts of oxalic acid!