Star Fruit

Star fruit are not only pretty to look at, but interesting too! Since they can be grown in Florida and Hawaii, they’re pretty easy to come by.

When looking for ripe star fruit, use the same rule as bananas. Ripe star fruit will be mainly bright yellow with tinges of light green. If they have some dark brown along the five ridges, that’s fine. The flesh should still be firm. It’s also okay to buy star fruit when it’s green and wait for it to ripen. When star fruit is over-ripe it turns entirely yellow and gets brown spots all over. Star fruit is usually available July through February.

There are two different varieties found in supermarkets. One is sour while the other is slightly sweet, yet it is virtually impossible to tell the two apart. In general, the tart varieties have narrowly spaced ribs and sweet varieties have thicker, fleshier ribs. However, the tart variety still has some sweetness. The flavor is usually described as a cross between an apple and a grape.

A star fruit, which when cut up will be about 2/3 of a cup, is a great source of Vitamin C, is low fat, and free of sodium and cholesterol. The fruit can be eaten fresh, used as a garnish, or incorporated into salads.

The star fruit has been reported to have a few health benefits as well. It has been used to relieve headaches, hangovers, sore eyes, ringworm, prickly heat, and chickenpox. It is also believed to stimulate the flow of milk in nursing mothers. However, those in chronic renal failure or end stage renal disease should stay away from star fruit. It contains a neurotoxin that can cause fruit intoxication in these patients.

Here's a great recipe for Star Fruit Dessert.

Serves 2-4, Prep Time 8 min, Cook Time 10 min

Ingredients:

  • 1 fresh, ripe star fruit
  • 1 cup orange juice or 2 oranges juiced
  • the fruit of 1 fresh ripe mango
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • up to 1 cup good quality coconut milk
  • optional: handful of fresh pomegranate seeds or cherries
  • optional: whipped cream or vanilla ice cream (as a topping)

Preparation:

  1. Place the star fruit (3 slices per person) in a pot on the stove. Add orange juice. Stir well and turn heat to high until juice begins to boil. Then turn heat down to medium.
  2. Allow to simmer for 10 minutes or until star fruit has softened enough to easily cut into with a spoon. Occasionally move slices and gently turn them over so they cook equally. Remove any brown seeds that may loosen and surface.
  3. While star fruit is cooking, place the mango fruit in a food processor, mini chopper, or blender. Process or blend until it is smooth and pureed. Set aside.
  4. When the star fruit is nearly done, add the brown sugar and stir to dissolve. Remove the pot from the heat.
  5. Add the mango puree, stirring well. Taste-test for sweetness, adding more brown sugar if needed. (Sweetness will depend on ripeness of fruit and juice used). If it is too sweet, add a squeeze of fresh lime juice or more orange juice.
  6. Take out 3 slices per bowl with enough sauce to surround the fruit. Top each bowl with a sprinkling of pomegranate seeds or cherry pieces. Drizzle coconut milk over the fruit. Add whipped cream and/or vanilla ice cream and serve!
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