Carambola (Averrhoa carambola) also known as starfruit, is a popular dessert fruit. The fruit has an attractive star-shape (hence the common name) when sliced cross-wise. They have a smooth and waxy skin. Ripe starfruit range from pale to dark yellow in colour. The fruits are crispy and very juicy and may range in taste from tart to sweet, with a delightful fragrance.
Most starfruit have several seeds though there are seedless cultivars as well.
The starfruit grows on a graceful spreading tree that thrives in partial shade. The tree produces flowers and fruits the whole year round. Starfruit trees grown from grafts begin flowering at 9 months while those planted from seed may not flower until they are 4-6 years old.
Starfruit have delicate pink to lavender flowers that are pollinated by honey bees.
The fruit is planted commercially in many tropical countries. While starfruit is mainly eaten as fresh fruit, they may be used in desserts, in savoury dishes or processed as beverages, jam, pickles or preserves. Starfruit juice also has a unique flavour and is believed to have cooling properties. Many Asian communities use starfruit in traditional medicine as well.