Make Carambola the Star(fruit) of Your Meals

Brooks Tropicals of Homestead this week issued a colorful, informative notice to remind us that starfruit season is upon us. It encourages consumers to incorporate the fruit in cooked dishes in addition to its customary use as a garnish. Take a minute to examine some of Brooks’s dining suggestions, republished with permission below. (Click on the bottom three photos to reveal recipes. If no photo appears on your screen, just click anywhere near the X in each box to reveal photos and recipes.)

You may even decide to grow your own starfruit. Averrhoa carambola, as it is formally known, is an Asian native, though its widespread popularity has obscured its exact origin. It makes a very attrac-tive shrub or small tree maturing to somewhere between 15 and 30 ft., with a rounded crown of pinnate leaves. The flowers, though small, are quite beautiful – red-stalked clusters of bell-shaped blossoms with magenta to rose-colored centers and white tips.

Richard Lyons’ Nursery carries starfruit plants in 3-, 7- and 15-gallon containers.

Dancing with the stars

Starfruit papaya tartine

Almost any fruit salad or combination of fruit will seemingly dance when paired with this fruit.

But add a simple coating of some spices, a few minutes under the broiler and, voila, starfruit joins forces with Caribbean Red papaya for a great appetizer or fruit side dish. It’s that easy for starfruit to take on a starring role.

 

Starfruit takes the heat
Starfruit shrimp stir-fry

Don’t limit starfruit to the role of a garnish; starfruit can take the heat.  Whether you’re cooking your main dish on the grill, in the wok or in the oven, starfruit adds a juicy crunch along with its stellar appearance to toppings and sauces.

Although you can add it any time you’re cooking, adding the fruit toward the end of cooking will heat starfruit sufficiently while maintaining its shape. Try this with one of your favorites dishes.

Chop or slice?

This can be a tough decision. I suggest that when you chop, you save some star – shaped slices for the top of the dish.

But don’t forget, there’s a third choice, and that’s just to eat it whole, just like an apple.

Florida starfruit are sweet-tasting, making them a great lunchbox fruit for kid or adult.

Enjoy Florida starfruit.

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