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star fruit and its health benefits

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    vijigermany's Avatar
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    star fruit and its health benefits

    Star fruit and its health benefits

    The star fruit or carambola (Averrhoa carambola*) is a unique tropical fruit that is gaining popularity in the United States. This fruit acquired its name from the five pointed star shape** when cut across the middle of the fruit (occasionally 4 or 6 ribbed fruit may occur). The 3 to 5 inch long fruit has a paper-thin thin, translucent, waxy, yellow-orange to green skin with tart crisp flesh.

    Star fruit range in taste from pleasantly tart and sour to slightly sweet with a complicated flavor combination that includes plums, pineapples, and lemons. The fruit is juicy and crunchy, and may be eaten skin, seeds and all or used as a garnish, in salads and in relishes and preserves. When used in cooking, green fruit are frequently used for their sourness. The juicy flesh is mostly water and does not hold up well when heated.

    Although it is not now found in the wild, the star fruit is originally native to Sri Lanka and the Moluccas, and has been cultivated in Southeast Asia and Malaysia for almost 1,000 years.

    Two varieties are found in markets, one sour and the other slightly sweet. Their flavor is sometimes described as like a cross between an apple and a grape.
    Star fruits are an excellent source of vitamin C, is low fat, and naturally sodium and cholesterol free. A small whole star fruit will provide approximately 2/3 cup sliced.

    Traditional Medicinal Uses
    Preparations of the leaves and roots have been used to cure headaches, hangovers, sore eyes, ringworm, prickly heat and chickenpox. Given to nursing mothers it is believed to stimulate the flow of milk.

    Select firm, shiny skinned, even colored fruit. Star fruits will ripen at room temperature and have lightly brown edges on the ribs and a full fruity aroma when ripe. Avoid purchasing fruit with brown, shriveled ribs. This delicious fruit is also available dried.

    Star fruit bruise easily, so handle with care. Non-ripe fruit should be turned often, until they are yellow in color and ripe with light brown ribs. Store ripe star fruits at room temperature for two to three days or unwashed, and refrigerated, in a plastic bag for up to one to two weeks.

    Preparation & Use
    Star fruits are great to eat out of hand as these tropical delights do not need to be peeled or seeded before eating. Simply wash the fruit, remove any blemished areas, cut crosswise to get the star shape, and eat.
    The sweet variety can be eaten out of hand or sliced and used as a garnish or in salads. They are also used in chutney, curries and tarts. The juice can be used in tropical drinks and smoothies.

    Make Star Fruit Part of Your 5 A Day Plan
    -- Add to fruit salads.
    -- Use for tarts, preserves, chutney and stewed fruits.
    -- Garnish chicken, pork or fish dishes.
    -- Garnish beverages.
    -- Add to your fruit smoothies.

    Serving size 125g
    Amounts Per Serving - % Daily Value*

    Calories 40
    Calories from Fat 5
    Total Fat 0g - 0%
    Saturated Fat 0g - 0%
    Cholesterol 0mg - 0%
    Sodium 0mg - 0%
    Total Carbohydrate 10g - 3%
    Dietary Fiber 3g - 12%
    Sugars 7g
    Protein 1g
    Vitamin A 15%
    Vitamin C 45%
    Calcium 0%
    Iron 2%

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