My Aunt Bernie had a carambola tree by her front door and it was always loaded with fruit. She’d slice up the pretty stars on a glass plate for all of us kids. I loved how they looked, but I’d only eat a slice or two. I didn’t mind the texture, which is crunchy and juicy like a grape with a thin, waxy skin. But the taste is so unusual, like a green apple with strange grassy notes. I’ve grown to like them more, maybe because they take me back to Aunt Bernie’s house.Carambola, or star fruit, is a popular tree in Florida yards. They’re easy to grow and they’ll give you a boatload of fruit. It’s overwhelming, especially for a fruit that’s better in small doses. Case in point: Many go to waste, but sometimes you’ll find bins of free fruit at the end of a driveway. I really should get a basket for the front of my bike, but I make do.I hate to see good fruit go to waste. I’ve had friends ask me for more recipes, and I know I can always find fruit, so I started experimenting.
Generally I think fruit is better raw, so I was pretty surprised after I tried these cooked. They’re delicious! I felt like I unlocked the secret of star fruit. Not only do they taste better, but cooking helps use up even more of them.These chips are a great place to start. I call them chips, but they lie somewhere in a gray area between dehydrated fruit and candy. They’ve got crispy edges and slightly chewy centers and the flavor is sweet-tart and spiked with a little hint of ginger. They’re perfect for snacking. You can make batch after batch, and I promise they’ll disappear. As an added bonus, you end up with starfruit syrup, which makes amazing cocktails and lemonade. My friend Paula came over with a huge wheel of brie after I’d just pulled a batch out of the oven. We put them together and it was magic. I’ve been scattering them on cheese boards ever since.
If you’re looking for more ways to use up star fruit, try this cinnamon starfruit tart, or mix a batch of star fruit palomas!
- 2 medium to large star fruit
- 2 cups water
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1-inch piece of ginger, sliced (optional)
- cinnamon sugar or sea salt, for sprinkling
- Heat the oven to 200 F.
- Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment.
- Slice the star fruit into thin, even slices, about 1/4" thick or less.
- In a saucepan over medium-high, dissolve the sugar in water and add the ginger, if using. Bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat, add the star fruit, and simmer for a few minutes, then remove it from the heat and allow it to sit for 20 minutes.
- Using tongs, transfer each slice to the lined baking sheet, allowing the excess syrup to drip off.*
- Bake the slices for at least an hour, or until they're dry and crisp.
- Sprinkle with a bit of cinnamon sugar or a pinch of sea salt if you like.
- Store in an airtight container. They're best used within a few days.
- *Reserve the leftover starfruit-ginger syrup for cocktails or lemonade.
Wow! Are they chewy? I’m so curious what the texture is like. Sidebar – that cheese plate??? Drooling!
A few years ago we were in Miami and my friend had a starfruit tree in his yard with so much fruit on it. He had no interest in it, but I did, so I picked about 10 and took them back to our apartment… and after cutting one up and eating it.. the rest went to waste. It’s definitely a fruit that looks better than it tastes. But now I’m so curious what it’s like cooked!
So funny! How could they be that bad, right? Ha! Toby and I watched a video of hiking in Kauai recently and it showed someone grabbing one off the tree and biting right into it. No one does that!
These chips are slightly chewy, but with crispy edges. It definitely transforms that strange flavor. I also made a tart that was amazing. I’ll post it after I make it again.
Nice! I wonder if they’d make decent jam? Have you tried juicing them?
Hiking in Kuai, eh?? My friends just came back from doing that and said it was the most amazing time ever. It’s high up on my list, for sure.
They’re great juiced: http://www.mydeliciousblog.com/starfruit-ginger-lemon-juice/ and I’m planning to make some jam soon.
Hiking in Kauai is definitely high on my list, but 2017 is filling up fast. Maybe 2018?
We’ve been fortunate to have a friend with more starfruit than they could use. been using in hot sauce recipes and in fruit smoothies. But this takes the prize! Awesome recipe! added star anise to ginger sugar water. thank you
Lucky you! Starfruit hot sauce sounds amazing. I’m so happy you like the recipe, and good suggestions for flavoring the sugar water. Thanks, Kevin!
Yes. Makes an excellent jam. Also, I’ve found most apple recipes can be used with starfruit as substitute. Apple pie is especially good. My preference is to use one apple mixed in with the starfruit.
Such a good point. I love apples, and they really do function the same as starfruit in recipes.
I’ve made starfruit preserves and it’s a big hit with friends and family. I’m getting ready to harvest my tree for the first time. I can’t wait to make some fresh preserves.
I’d love to make starfruit preserves when I get my hands on more fruit. Let me know if you’ve got any tips!
Do you have a STAR fruit preserve recipe to share?
I’ve never had starfruit preserves, but I would love to give it a shot! I’ll add that idea to my list. Thanks!
They make delicious jam!!!
When I was growing upMy sisters and I Used to have a tree in our neighborhood,we picked a lot of them, the first one picked wS the first one we ate , I live in Cleveland now & found them @giant eagle, our local grocery store, they had them,I bought every one they Had
I can’t figure out what I did wrong….I baked them at 200 and it took 3 hours and they still were not crisp and dry.
I’m sorry you weren’t able to get them crispy, Susan! It sounds like you’ve got some very juicy starfruit. I would try slicing them thinner, and patting them with paper towels before they go in the oven. I hope that helps! Please update me if you try again!
It works better if you flip them during cooking. Mine also took three hours but after the first hour I flipped them and then every thirty minutes after that. Crispy, chewy and delicious.
Like salt pulls water out of rhe eggplants mabe salt them let them sweat and wipe them down b 4 the oven? Maybe
Did you leave the oven door open? I put a wooden spoon in so there was a slit where the moisture could escape. Worked fine, took 1,5 hours with flipping them in between. And my oven works on gas/fire without any fancy settings like “grill”, a lower temperature than 200 °C isn’t possible. But it worked.
I left these in the oven for almost 3 hours at 200 degrees and I couldn’t get them to dry and crisp up. They tested good chewy but just wondered what we did wrong. Thanks
Some of ours were a little chewy, especially the thicker ones. I actually preferred them that way! But if you want them all really crispy, go for super thin slices. Maybe even use a mandoline.
I found that if you bake them until the top starts to dry out and then flip them over, they got totally dried out. Faster and more uniform than just leaving to bake on one side. PS, I DID use a silpat so I don’t know if parchment would have the same results. FABULOUS TREAT and they get gobbled up faster than I can make them.
Oh, that’s fantastic, Jan! They’re ripening up around my neighborhood so I’ll be doing the same thing soon. I’ll test it out for time and update the recipe. Thank you!
Thanks for this lovely recipe. My friend has a tree and gave us a whole basket of start fruits. I am cooking them right now. Looking forward to try them. Just one question, is the temp 200F not degrees right? The idea is to dry them out I guess. My oven is in Degrees Celsius and 200C is like 400 F 🙂
Yes, 200F, very low heat to dry them out slowly. I hope it works out for you, Karla!
I also had trouble drying out the stars so I decided to turn the recipe into a dessert. Here’s whar I did. I cut off the stiff edges of the stars, cut them into 1/4 inch slices. Then, followed the rest of the directions. Baked for 1 hour 45 minutes. Let cool. Then, put some on a plate, sprinkled with fine sugar and cinnamon, sprinkled that with crushed walnuts andcoated with a tower of whipped cream. It’s been a huge hit with my family!
My next plan is to freeze some of it, then, make Star Fruit Margaritas out of it. Can’t wait!
Pam that sounds amazing! I’m so glad for more tips because it seems some starfruit just won’t dry out thoroughly. If I run into that myself I will definitely go with the whipped cream tower. Also I’m intrigued by taking off those edges… Thank you!
Suwanneerose, I bought this fruit for the first time today, can you tell me where I can buy a tree, I made chips, and I’ve made a drink bitter, Grand kids love it, they would love to watch it grow. Thank you Brenda Couture. [email protected]
Glad you’re enjoying the starfruit! I bet your local garden center can get you a tree.
I made a margarita punch for my daughter”s wedding with tequila,orange juice, lemon, lime, and carambola juice, juiced in a juicer, frozen then thawed out to use in the punch. Everyone wants my recipe but no one has access to the fruit so they can’t really make it. The star fruit gives it a slightly perfumey – flowery note. You can also freeze the juice in an ice cube tray and add a cube to your drink. When I tried using a blender to make juice, the tiny bits of peel and wax floated to the top. next time I used the juicer and that worked best.
I love this idea! Thank you!
Is the sugar necessary? Trying to cut back
I think you could do without, keeping in mind you’ll get more of a regular dried fruit effect and they’ll be tart. I’ll test it myself some time.
To remove the funky flavor that turns some people off, just trim the sharp edges off each one before slicing them. I love the refreshing flavor on a hot day. I keep a few in the fridge and some slices in the freezer for my grandkids. I can’t wait to try the dried slices.. mmm!
Thanks, Bob! I’m trimming off the edges next time for sure.
No sugar necessary if the fruit is ripe.
I put them in my food dehydrator on low over night. Excellent! The idea of using a vegetable peeler on the ribs sounds great.
We have two trees in the backyard and holy cow do we get a lot of starfruit. We just went through another picking cycle. We’ve got six large baskets filled heaping. It would be nice to make jam, preserves and other goodies. I like throwing some seasoned salt on them after slicing them up and placing them filled on a dinner plate. Though I’m worried about overdoing it with my salt intake. Technically I don’t sprinkle salt on anything else I eat other than maybe a dash on hard boiled eggs. It would be nice if there was a really awesome recipe for starfruit. that we haven’t tried anything other than the basic slicing and eating. they do taste pretty good when they are that orangie color. though they can ripen very quickly start to go bad.
Thank you, Alex! I’ll try a little salt next time. They make great juice and cocktails as well. Starfruit Palomas. And this tart doesn’t use up nearly enough, but it’s a tasty treat: Cinnamon Starfruit Tart
Wondering why my post a few years back wasn’t shared? Was just letting people know about the risk of eating too many star fruit for people with kidney disease. I’m a physician in Hawaii who loves and grows stay fruit but wanted to share this factual and well referenced info.
The fruit is extremely healthy. Wondering how the cooking temperarures affect the fiber, vitamin, and antioxidant properties. The fruit is worthless without the full heath benefit.
Star fruit (Carambola) is especially good in drinks. Goes great with watermelon in a smoothie! Hope this helped
Can you make a nectar out of them and can/freeze? Like guava? And Maybe add some guava to the mix, as a little adds a lot of flavor. I add Hibiscus to my fruit cooking experiments for a lively pink color.
My friend Nicole juices them with ginger. Hibiscus for color is always a good idea.
Okay… I just had a stack of fresh basil and sliced starfruit side by side. I thought..”Why not?” Holy Moly and a Winning Flavor Combo! Wow! I think Starfruit/Basil infused water! Or Lemon/Basil/Starfruit cooler!
You heard it here first!
BTW Suwanee, your name keeps popping up with great ideas. Keep it going for Florida produce! ?
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My starfruit tree is a heavy producer so I’m always looking for ways to use them up. These sound delicious. I also make starfruit jam and starfruit upside down cake. Just use starfruit instead of pineapple. My grandkids just love it.
Oh I love the idea of a starfruit upside down cake! Thanks for that idea, Cindy. I’ve heard the jam is good but still haven’t tried it. I just spotted some ripe starfruit in the neighborhood yesterday.
I have tried star fruit sorbet but the flavor doesn’t seem intense enough. Sherbet or sorbet would use up a lot of star fruit.
Also I got a lot of ice crystals.
Anyone have any ideas for solving these 2 problems?
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I juice the Carambola at the height of ripeness, then freeze the juice in ice cube trays. Here in SW Florida when working outside, I place 4-5 cubes in my water jug (1 quart). The subtle taste is very refreshing.
Note: many people love the sweet taste ( when ripe) and pull them from the tree and eat them raw. They are like biting into watermelon as they are extremely juice laden.
Please wash all fruit before eating!
Upside down star fruit cake is outstanding, as well as marmalade.
This year I will try making star fruit wine!?
We started juicing them, too. I like the idea of cubes to add to water. Sounds so refreshing. Thank you!!
Thank you for this! I got some star fruit from Misfits Market and am totally trying this. Our 9 year old loves dried kiwi, so I think this will be amazing for her. Waiting for my one star fruit to ripen, then totally doing this in my new toaster oven that has a dehydrator feature! 😀
Can you make this with honey instead of sugar?