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Saturday, April 22, 2017

The Carambola, or Starfruit - 'Averrhoa carambola' - fam: Oxalidaceae

'Averrhoa carambola', better known as 'Starfruit', is a species of tree native to the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Nepal, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Mauritius and Seychelles 1.

It has also been grown in Far North Queensland, Australia, for a long time, however, the fruit of this variety tends to be small and sour. The new selections are generally larger and more flavoursome 2. The carambola has been cultivated in Asia since ancient times. Carambolas (fwang tung) are a good substitute for apples in recipes.

The carambola is appropriately nicknamed Starfruit for it's five golden wings that reveal a star-shaped pattern when cut crosswise. The juicy transparent flesh has a citrus quality with a floral accent and is delicious eaten fresh, made into juice or into a delicious chutney 3.

As tasty and palatable as the Starfruit is, people should be aware that there have been reports of intoxication in dialysis and uremic patients caused by a neurotoxin called caramboxin present in the fruit. Such toxin is normally filtered by the kidneys, but patients in dialysis or suffering from kidney deficiencies may show severe symptoms, in a few cases fatal, after drinking the fruit juice 4.

REFERENCES: Wikipedia - Carambola 1 Australian Tropical 2 Daleys Fruit Tree Nursery 3 Wikipedia - Averrhoa carambola 4


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