What you need to know: Also known as carambola, starfruit is grown everywhere from Sri Lanka and the Moluccas to southeast Asia and Malaysia. We even found the fruit growing in Hawaii this week (as shown above before we devoured it). With five (sometimes four or six) sides, this bright yellow fruit gets its name from its star-like shape. It has a crisp, juicy center with a sour to mildly sweet taste. Low in sugar but rich in potassium and vitamin C, starfruit helps to build collagen for youthful skin and strong bones, protects the lungs, and maintains normal blood pressure.
Why you should try it: The starfruit has both antioxidant and antimicrobial properties, making it a serious player in disease prevention. Research has shown that its antimicrobial agents are effective against bacterias such as E.coli, Staphylococcus and Pseudomonas. Traditionally, starfruit is used to counteract a fever, due to its cooling nature, and is believed to stop vomiting, diarrhea and even symptoms of a hangover. It is also used as a diuretic to assuage conditions of the kidney and bladder, while reducing water weight from an overindulgent weekend – the perfect Monday morning pick-me-up.
Let’s get together: When choosing starfruit it is important to recognize that there are two types. One type is green and tart, while the other with a golden yellow skin is sweet. Both can be used for different dishes. The tart variation is commonly salted and pickled, used as a condiment with various meat and poultry dishes. As for the sweeter (brighter yellow) kind, it is best eaten whole like an apple or in a fruit salad. Starfruit also makes an excellent fresh pressed juice or dessert accompaniment, similar to the taste of pear. Try swapping out your usual apples and pears for this unique, tropical treat in your next juicy concoction!