Also called carambola, the pretty star fruit is widely grown in tropical and subtropical regions. The cylindrical, yellow-green fruit has thick, waxy skin with five sharp ribs that look like raised fins. The crisp, juicy flesh is citruslike, differing in sweetness according to variety and how ripe the fruit is.
Select shiny, even colored, firm fruit without blemishes. Star fruit is green when unripe, turning to pale yellow and then rich gold as it ripens. When ripe the aroma should be fruity. Once soft, it will quickly lose flavor. Buy unripe green fruit, which will be more acidic, for cooking as a vegetable.
Keep at room temperature until the fragrance develops. Ripe fruit can be kept in a closed paper bag in the refrigerator for a few days. Or freeze.
Trim off any traces of brown along the top of the ridges since this will taste bitter.
Include in fruit salads. Use as a garnish. Extract the juice for drinks.
Poach or purée for cakes and desserts. Use the syrup for sauces. In Asia, unripe fruit is used as a vegetable.
Make into jam, chutney, and pickle. Slice and preserve in sugar as candied fruit.
Poultry, shrimp, avocado, red peppers, other tropical fruits, lime, coconut, lemongrass, nutmeg, vanilla, honey, rum, salt.