Five Fingers a.k.a Carambola a.k.a Star Fruit

Carambola, Star Fruit, Five Fingers

Carambola is a fruit that was not very popular in my life until recent years, possibly a casualty of the flood of foreign fruit imports that became popular in the Nineties. Now however, with everyone tightening their belt, local produce is once again taking center stage in local supermarkets. As this is my first entry in Weekend Herb Blogging (hosted this time around by its founder Kalyn) I thought that was a great way to get feedback on this odd item :)

So what is this fruit all about? Well as you can see it looks a lot like a starfish in cross section (thus the fanciful names Starfruit and Five Fingers). It is very tart in taste (with a curious sweet aftertaste), crunchy, and filled with liquid. I’m still figuring out ways to utilize this fruit in my repertoire. I made an awesome bread with it yesterday. If you have any tips or suggestions do tell!

Carambola, Star Fruit, Five Fingers

From Wikipedia:

… the carambola, more popularly known as star fruit, but also coromandel gooseberry, is a golden-yellow to green berry. When cut across it shows a 5-pointed (sometimes 6-pointed or 7-pointed) star shape, hence the name, “star fruit.” Star fruits are crunchy, and have a slightly tart, acidic, sweet taste, reminiscent of pears, apples, and sometimes grapes. The fruits are a good source of vitamin C. Its seeds are small and brown. They consist of a tough outer skin and a tangy white inside.

There are two varieties of star fruit – acidulate and sweet. The tart varieties can often be identified by their narrowly spaced ribs. The sweet varieties usually have thick fleshy ribs.

The fruit starts out green, and goes to yellow as it ripens, though it can be eaten in both stages.

The fruit is rich in juice to the extent that one can make wine out of them.

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Passionate foodie, founder of Trinigourmet and Caribbean Lifestyle Maven. Author of "Glam By Request: 30+ Easy Caribbean Recipes"

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  • boo

    ooo i like starfruit, but it makes my mouth get itchy :(

    it tastes like very tart apple mixed with pear to me.

    boo

  • boo

    ooo i like starfruit, but it makes my mouth get itchy :(

    it tastes like very tart apple mixed with pear to me.

    boo

  • http://www.TriniGourmet.com Sarina

    ooo i’m sorry to hear that boo :( i guess that means you’re allergic to it?

  • http://www.TriniGourmet.com Sarina

    ooo i’m sorry to hear that boo :( i guess that means you’re allergic to it?

  • Marsha

    Well you know when I was younger I used to make chow with it, but these days I am into chutney and compotes. So you may want to try that Nikki…

  • Marsha

    Well you know when I was younger I used to make chow with it, but these days I am into chutney and compotes. So you may want to try that Nikki…

  • http://www.TriniGourmet.com Sarina

    i hate compotes :( chutney is a good idea tho… chow too!! will try those!! :idea:

  • http://www.TriniGourmet.com Sarina

    i hate compotes :( chutney is a good idea tho… chow too!! will try those!! :idea:

  • http://rachelsbite.blogspot.com Rachel

    star fruit scares me! i would like to get over it though and actually make something with it.

  • http://rachelsbite.blogspot.com Rachel

    star fruit scares me! i would like to get over it though and actually make something with it.

  • http://www.TriniGourmet.com Sarina

    Hi Rachel! :) Thanks so much for popping by! :D Why does star fruit scare you? The appearance? The taste? :) They are odd little things aren’t they? :)

  • http://www.TriniGourmet.com Sarina

    Hi Rachel! :) Thanks so much for popping by! :D Why does star fruit scare you? The appearance? The taste? :) They are odd little things aren’t they? :)

  • http://www.aidanbrooks.blogspot.com Trig

    Really enjoyed the article. I’ve used carambola in my Australian gastronomy menu, in this case a guava and carambola tart. I picked guavas daily, at age 4 when my family briefly lived in Monserrat. We’d roll them in sugar before eating them, is this also common in Trinidad?

  • http://www.aidanbrooks.blogspot.com Trig

    Really enjoyed the article. I’ve used carambola in my Australian gastronomy menu, in this case a guava and carambola tart. I picked guavas daily, at age 4 when my family briefly lived in Monserrat. We’d roll them in sugar before eating them, is this also common in Trinidad?

  • http://www.TriniGourmet.com Sarina

    Guava and carambola tart!!! Well that sounds amazing! I’m a gonna jot that down Mr. Trig!!! :idea:

    Poor Montserrat, that’s the volcano island right? :( I have never eaten guava raw… it scared me in appearance too much. I have seen friends eat it raw but never rolled in sugar :) I love guava jelly though or anything made from it … awww litle 4 year old picking guava :D but at 4 you could only be picking them off the grass no? :D

  • http://www.TriniGourmet.com Sarina

    Guava and carambola tart!!! Well that sounds amazing! I’m a gonna jot that down Mr. Trig!!! :idea:

    Poor Montserrat, that’s the volcano island right? :( I have never eaten guava raw… it scared me in appearance too much. I have seen friends eat it raw but never rolled in sugar :) I love guava jelly though or anything made from it … awww litle 4 year old picking guava :D but at 4 you could only be picking them off the grass no? :D

  • Marsha

    I love guava but was always afraid of the worms girlie. THER ARE ALWAYS WORMS!

  • Marsha

    I love guava but was always afraid of the worms girlie. THER ARE ALWAYS WORMS!

  • http://www.TriniGourmet.com Sarina

    WORMS??? OH GEEEDD!!! I found it looked nasty raw, and this will NOT help :lol:

  • http://www.TriniGourmet.com Sarina

    WORMS??? OH GEEEDD!!! I found it looked nasty raw, and this will NOT help :lol:

  • http://lilandra.com/blog Lilandra

    I don’t think I’ve ever had starfruit.

    Mom is shelling peas and says no don’t help her because she remembers when people were younger and someone used to help her once someone saw a worm they’d run and leave her alone.

  • http://lilandra.com/blog Lilandra

    I don’t think I’ve ever had starfruit.

    Mom is shelling peas and says no don’t help her because she remembers when people were younger and someone used to help her once someone saw a worm they’d run and leave her alone.

  • http://www.TriniGourmet.com Sarina

    eeew worm in peaz too?! all yuh want me to stop cooking!!!!

  • http://www.TriniGourmet.com Sarina

    eeew worm in peaz too?! all yuh want me to stop cooking!!!!

  • http://lilandra.com/blog Lilandra

    you never see worm in peas??
    lord where you live?

  • http://lilandra.com/blog Lilandra

    you never see worm in peas??
    lord where you live?

  • http://www.TriniGourmet.com Sarina

    meuh! :O

  • http://www.TriniGourmet.com Sarina

    meuh! :O

  • http://culinarytypes.blogspot.com T.W. Barritt

    Beautiful photos and really interesting information. I’ve always wondered about Star Fruit — it’s so exotic looking. I’d really like to try it.

  • http://culinarytypes.blogspot.com T.W. Barritt

    Beautiful photos and really interesting information. I’ve always wondered about Star Fruit — it’s so exotic looking. I’d really like to try it.

  • http://www.TriniGourmet.com Sarina

    Thanks T.W.! Is it easily found in the US? I am surprised at how familiar people are with it :) The bread I made was really good, I hope to post it within the next few days (i procrastinate!)

  • http://www.TriniGourmet.com Sarina

    Thanks T.W.! Is it easily found in the US? I am surprised at how familiar people are with it :) The bread I made was really good, I hope to post it within the next few days (i procrastinate!)

  • http://lilandra.com/blog Lilandra

    :-p

  • http://lilandra.com/blog Lilandra

    :-p

  • http://chennette.wordpress.com Chennette

    Ok, Sarina, you letting out your secrets – clearly you never shell some pigeon peas if you never came across the worms :-) And apparently I should have done more running as a child, since I remember shelling BUCKETS by myself!
    And I love love love guava, still in mourning for our fallen, laden tree. Even with worms, I like it raw, half-ripe, very ripe mmmm…
    Unfortunately I have yet to acclimatise to five finger – texture, taste, not into it.

  • http://chennette.wordpress.com Chennette

    Ok, Sarina, you letting out your secrets – clearly you never shell some pigeon peas if you never came across the worms :-) And apparently I should have done more running as a child, since I remember shelling BUCKETS by myself!
    And I love love love guava, still in mourning for our fallen, laden tree. Even with worms, I like it raw, half-ripe, very ripe mmmm…
    Unfortunately I have yet to acclimatise to five finger – texture, taste, not into it.

  • Marsha

    There was always a way to tell if some peas has worms. The part with the worm was always kinda discolored or something so I would avoid that like the plague!
    Worms in peas was the worst! I was always screaming! hahahaha

  • Marsha

    There was always a way to tell if some peas has worms. The part with the worm was always kinda discolored or something so I would avoid that like the plague!
    Worms in peas was the worst! I was always screaming! hahahaha

  • http://www.TriniGourmet.com Sarina

    Chennette – but i used to shell peas.. i used to love shell peas… into my aunt’s big enamel bowl… a set of us … i don’t remember no worms :cry: maybe i blocked it out … :cry:

  • http://www.TriniGourmet.com Sarina

    Chennette – but i used to shell peas.. i used to love shell peas… into my aunt’s big enamel bowl… a set of us … i don’t remember no worms :cry: maybe i blocked it out … :cry:

  • http://lilandra.com/blog Lilandra

    Maybe you had *expensive* peas!

  • http://lilandra.com/blog Lilandra

    Maybe you had *expensive* peas!

  • http://kalynskitchen.blogspot.com Kalyn

    Very interesting. I think I might have tasted this once in China, do you think that’s possible? At least I remember something that looked kind of like this. No idea how to use it in a recipe.

  • http://kalynskitchen.blogspot.com Kalyn

    Very interesting. I think I might have tasted this once in China, do you think that’s possible? At least I remember something that looked kind of like this. No idea how to use it in a recipe.

  • http://www.TriniGourmet.com Sarina

    lilandra – :P

    kalyn – i think it’s quite possible! :D I made a bread with it a few days ago that I’ll post and submit to WHB in the near future :) I also got some great ideas for chutneys and even a pie from commenters :D I can’t wait :D

  • http://www.TriniGourmet.com Sarina

    lilandra – :P

    kalyn – i think it’s quite possible! :D I made a bread with it a few days ago that I’ll post and submit to WHB in the near future :) I also got some great ideas for chutneys and even a pie from commenters :D I can’t wait :D

  • http://is-that-my-bureka.blogspot.com/ burekaboy

    starfruit is not uncommon here in larger grocery stores at all. it’s been around for many years. it is however quite astringent. i like it :) great for presentation, mostly.

  • http://is-that-my-bureka.blogspot.com/ burekaboy

    starfruit is not uncommon here in larger grocery stores at all. it’s been around for many years. it is however quite astringent. i like it :) great for presentation, mostly.

  • http://www.TriniGourmet.com Sarina

    I’ll be posting my carambola bread recipe tomorrow :D stay tuned! :D

  • http://www.TriniGourmet.com Sarina

    I’ll be posting my carambola bread recipe tomorrow :D stay tuned! :D


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