Fruit Tree of the day: Carambola


Carambola Tree
Today’s tree is the carambola, otherwise known as starfruit. In cross-section, it really does look like a star!
You may have seen these in the store before, though store-bought ones don’t taste nearly as good. They damage really easily in shipping when ripe, so they need to picked 2 weeks early when they’re still green. Unlike peaches, they don’t continue to ripen when taken off the tree.

Even off the tree though, starfruit still taste pretty meh, like a mild citrus flavor with hints of its own thing. The great thing about the tree is the sheer quantity of fruit you get. The season lasts 6-8 months, (around Tampa Bay, late August through February, though some places in Florida get two distinct seasons) and during that time the tree will never have less than a couple hundred starfruit on it. I’ve tried juicing, (it tastes really good juiced, especially mixed with orange juice) making into pies, (it makes a really good “apple” pie) and putting in fruit salads, and I still end up with tons of fruit rotting on the ground… which is actually a good thing, if you want to plant tomorrow’s Fruit Tree of the Day alongside it.

Best of all, these trees take zero maintenance. My neighbor lets me pick them, as she doesn’t really like starfruit. So I know she doesn’t fertilize or prune, and I don’t think she waters that much either. And yet she still gets those yields! This is definitely a good citrus replacement if you don’t want to deal with HLB. Also, now I always snicker when I see individual fruits “on sale” for $2 apiece.