What is a Carambola?
A carambola, also known as a starfruit, is an oblong shaped tropical fruit with a green waxy skin and yellow speckled flesh. Its distinctive star shape gives it its name and has made it a popular choice as an ornamental plant as well as offering a healthy snack option. Although it is native to Southeast Asia, you can now find carambolas in regular supermarkets and farmers’ markets in the United States, Mexico and other countries around the world.
Carambolas are delightfully sweet to the taste with a slightly acidic tang. The texture of the flesh is juicy and firm. It is a perfect way to add a hint of exotic flavor to salads and desserts and makes an attractive addition to meals.
The carambola is packed full of nutrients and offers a host of health benefits, thanks to its rich source of vitamins B, C and A, fiber and antioxidants. It is loaded with minerals such as phosphorous, magnesium, calcium and potassium that aid the absorption of these beneficial nutrients. As an anti-inflammatory, the fruit helps reduce low level inflammation in the body, which can reduce or prevent a range of chronic diseases.
As a natural source of dietary fiber, carambolas help to maintain healthy digestive function, provide bulk to food and ensure a healthy intestinal tract. It acts as a natural laxative and can help to reduce your risk of developing certain types of cancer as well as helping to control cholesterol.
With its low calories, carambolas make a great snack for weight watchers. The small size of the fruit means you get all the taste without the hefty calorie count. It is a nutritious and natural way to get your daily dose of essential vitamins, minerals and other essential nutrients.
When selecting carambolas, look for fruits that are firm, without any blemishes on the skin. The skin should be a vibrant yellow-green in color and the flesh should be a light yellow. Over ripe fruits will give off a pungent odor and should be discarded.
Carambolas can be stored in a cool, dark place for up to two weeks. Once ripe, the skin will turn completely yellow and can be consumed with the skin on or peeled off and chopped for use in salads, tarts or batters for pancakes and waffles.
To get the most nutrition from your carambolas, try roasting them in the oven. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until the skin is lightly browned and the flesh is tender. Roasted carambolas make a great side dish or you can mash them up to make a delicious jam or topping on toast or muffins.
Another great way to enjoy the taste of carambolas is by blending them into smoothies or shakes. The addition of carambolas adds a refreshing twist to a regular smoothie recipe.
Carambolas have earned a well-deserved spot on the list of exotic and health-promoting fruits. This low calorie and low carbohydrate fruit is a great addition to any diet and provides a wealth of benefits in terms of nutrition, health and flavor. Make sure to include carambolas when your next grocery shop and enjoy all the delicious benefits of this tropical star!