Star Fruit / Carambola
[Coromandel Gooseberry, Kamranga, Averrhoa carambola]
This tree, native to Southeast Asia, has been widely planted in tropical and subtropical parts of the world. There are two commonly sold varieties, tart and sweet, which are difficult to tell apart by sight but the sweet ones tend to have thicker ribs. The main use of Carambola in the U.S. is as a decorative addition to fruit salads and similar dishes. Carambola is more cold tolerant than Bilimbi so is grown commercially in South Florida and in Hawaii. The photo specimen was typical of what we get here in Southern California, 6-3/4 inches long, 4 inches across and weighed 14-3/4 ounces. It was very juicy and tart-sweet, a bit more tart than a tart apple but not at all unpleasant. Photo © cg1.
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Buying: Here in Southern California these are periodically available in Asian and produce markets. The photo specimens were purchased in mid May. The fruit should have a firm, slightly waxy feel and be free of soft spots. Examine the stem end for signs of rot. I have seen photos of bright yellow star fruit, but the ones we get around here are like in the photo, or with a bit more yellow.