We love highlighting exotic ingredients and sharing suggestions for how to use them. And although featuring recipes from commercial companies rather than chef-driven foods isn’t necessarily first choice, we jumped at the chance to share this boldly spiced star fruit recipe from Brooks Tropicals with our readers.
Brooks Tropicals is one of the food world’s more interesting, family-owned companies. What started as a one-man operation grew into one of America’s finest growers and importers of Caribbean fruit. But because they import exotic fruits, owners of the company realized that part of their role is to educate and excite consumers with things like the star fruit.
What is star fruit?
So what is a star fruit? Also called carambola, this tropical fruit is shaped like a five-pointed star. It really is star-shaped!
Yellow-green in color, star fruits grow on trees native to Southeast Asia. The fruit was cultivated for centuries however it wasn’t introduced in the United States until 1887, when it was first planted in Florida, which is where Brooks Tropicals grows their fruit.
What does star fruit taste like?
Starfruit comes in two varieties, one is sweet, the other more sour. The fruit’s skin is firm and waxy but edible. And the interior flesh somewhat resembles that of a grape, only with a milder, slightly tangy, or sour flavor.
How to eat star fruit
If you’ve never prepared a star fruit, you may be wondering, “How do you eat star fruit?” This tropical fruit’s odd shape may leave you in confusion.
After rinsing the fruit well, trim off both ends. If the fruit is really ripe, you might also want to shave off any brown from the edges. Just trim it very thinly or you might ruin the shape. Hold it horizontally then cut into slices to produce star shapes. (Do not cut the fruit in half, or you will have half stars.) Once it is sliced, the fruit can be enjoyed just as it is or in recipes like this one.
Is star fruit nutritious?
Starfruit is surprisingly nutritious for such a pretty, not to mention mildly flavored, fruit. A serving (about the size of a medium fruit), contains over 50% of the daily intake of vitamin C. And the fruit also offers B vitamins and fiber as well as trace amounts of folate, magnesium and potassium.
One word of warning. Those with kidney problems should avoid star fruit. It has a high oxalate content and can lead to kidney damage in those who are susceptible.
This star fruit recipe is an aphrodisiac fruit salad
Star fruit doesn’t necessarily enjoy a rich folkloric history as aphrodisiac. But that’s where this unique carambola recipe comes in. An elegant, creamy fruit salad recipe, we think it goes a long way towards making star fruit a food of passion. Of course, the dish also includes some of our favorite aphrodisiacs, like blueberries, strawberries, curry powder and coconut.
Serve this curried star fruit salad for breakfast, as a side dish, snack or even dessert. However you decide to use it, Star Fruit Exotica is a fun (and surprisingly aphrodisiac) take on fruit salad.
Tips on star fruit recipe substitutions
Although this fruit salad calls for a specific blend of fruits, we’ve used substitutions depending on what’s in season. We’ve used tangerines in place of oranges, raspberries instead of blueberries and even banana or peach in place of papaya. The one fruit you obviously can’t substitute is the star fruit. But as for the rest of the fruits, we invite you to experiment.
Star Fruit Exotica Fruit Salad
- 4 oz cream of coconut
- 3 tbs tahini
- 1 tsp almond extract
- 1 tsp curry powder
- 1 cup reduced-fat sour cream
- 2 star fruit
- 1 papaya
- 1 cup blueberries
- 1 cup strawberries cut in quarters
- 1 in orange peeled, sectioned and cuthalf
- In a medium bowl, combine the juice, tahini, almond extract, curry powder and sour cream.
- With a vegetable peeler, take the brown tips off the points of the star fruit. Slice the star fruit into thin slices. Poke out any seeds with a knife. Place in a large bowl.
- Slice a papaya in half; discard the seeds and scoop out the flesh onto a cutting board. Chop into 1/2" pieces. Add to the large bowl.
- Add the remaining fruit to the large bowl. Add the sour cream mixture and gently toss.
- Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours.
- Toss before serving.
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