The starfruit is a tropical fruit that is native to Indonesia and Sri Lanka. It is now grown around the world where the climate is warm and humid. The starfruit’s delightful star shape makes it a favorite in the kitchen for decorating fruit salads, smoothies, cocktails, and even savory dishes. If you’re considering buying this fruit from the store, you may want to know what does a starfruit taste like? We’re about to give you a full rundown on the flavor, texture, and its uses in the kitchen.
What do starfruits taste like?
Starfruit has a sweet, mildly acidic flavor with a sour undertone. The fruit has an exotic feel to it, and its floral aroma is very enticing. If you’ve ever eaten a feijoa, you’ll be familiar with the starfruit’s flavor – it’s predominantly feijoa, with the acidity of pineapple and subtle hints of banana and pear.
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The starfruit’s flesh has a firm but delicate texture that is a little crispy, like a nashi pear. Biting into the fruit, there’s a decent amount of juice. The waxy skin is thin and edible, so there is no need to remove it before eating. You’ll see a scattering of small seeds are edible but aren’t pleasant; they can easily be removed before eating.
It is essential to eat a starfruit when it is fully ripened. The skin should have a yellow appearance without any green shade. Unripe fruit will have a firmer texture with intensified tartness. You’ll notice they taste a lot like a green apple.
How variety affects the flavor
Some people will describe the starfruit as being very tart, even when ripe. They’ve likely tasted a different type than what is usually sold in stores.
The common type of star fruit sold in-store is classified as sweet; it is relatively large and mild flavored. This fruit is ideal for eating out of hand or in desserts, juices, smoothies, jams, and cocktails.
A second variety has a more complex, sourer taste and is smaller in size. This type is not recommended for sweet desserts as it is too tart. Instead, sour starfruits are ideal for savory recipes such as chicken, curry, casserole, fish, and seafood. They also make an impressive garnish on any dish.
Uses in the kitchen
1. Eaten fresh
Starfruit is best eaten fresh and raw, like an apple. Use a sharp knife to trim off each end and discard these bits. Leave the skin on and slice the fruit into any size that suits your preference. The occasional seed can be picked out and removed before eating.
2. Savory dishes
Starfruit adds a unique visual element to meals. Once cooked, they tend to retain their shape; for extra crispiness add them at the end of the cook. Use starfruit in stirfries, stews, or cook with fish or chicken. In parts of Southeast Asia, a popular dish is to stew the fruit with spices, such as cloves, and sugar.
3. Sweet dishes
Toss slices of starfruit into a sangria for a subtle tropical flavor. The flesh makes a lovely sorbet or ice cream, which is likely to appeal to even the fussiest eater. Fruit salads always look better with the starfruit included for visual impact.
Any other dessert that works well with fruit, such as cheesecake or tarts, will benefit from the starfruit. Create a starfruit compote and drizzle over pancakes for a tasty snack eaten for breakfast or any other time of day!
4. Other options
Starfruit juice is delicious and full of goodness. It can be eaten on its own or added to smoothies. Include with a chia pudding for a healthy start to the day.
If you have leftover starfruit that is starting to spoil, use them to make chutney or pickle that will last in the cupboard for many months. Alternatively, pop them in the oven on a low heat to make tasty starfruit chips.
Flavors that pair with starfruit
- 5-spice powder
- rice wine
- soy sauce
- fish sauce
How to select a good starfruit
Look for starfruit with shiny, smooth skin that shows no sign of withering or bruising. It should feel quite heavy for its size with brown lines on the edges. Put the fruit close to your nose and test that it’s fragrant – this is a good sign that the fruit is ripe. If your only option is green starfruit, then that is okay, you can ripen it at home on the counter. Ensure even ripening by turning the fruits occasionally.
How to store
Starfruit can be stored in a plastic bag, refrigerated for up to one week. Left on the countertop, they will last 2-5 days, depending on temperature and humidity levels. The fruit can also be sliced and bagged before freezing for up to 12 months.
Health benefits of a starfruit
The starfruit provides a good source of nutrients, including vitamin C and fiber. A medium-sized fruit offers 52% of an adult’s daily vitamin C requirement and 3 grams of fiber. This fruit is high in water content and only contains 6 grams of carbohydrates and 28 calories, which is low compared to many other types of fruit.
Starfruit contains a toxic known as neurotoxin, which can be easily processed by healthy humans. Those with kidney disease may have difficulty processing the toxin and should avoid this fruit. For more details check out this article by the National Kidney Foundation.
Other interesting reads:
What does pitaya taste like?
What’s the difference between jackfruit and durian?
Where to buy starfruit
In peak season, you may find star fruit stocked in your local supermarket in the fruit section. Some growers will protect the fruit in a netted foam sleeve as they can damage easily, a lot like the nashi pear.
If you can’t find them in the grocery store, take a trip to your closest Asian market. They are a popular item here. When you’re traveling through tropical countries like Vietnam and Thailand, you’ll find the fruit in abundance.
- A starfruit tree is also known as five-corner or Averrhoa carambola and is part of the Oxalidaceae family. It can grow to 25 feet in height.
- The fruit always has five points and is shaped like a star.
- Star fruit trees vibrate at night, causing the leaves to fold up.
- The fruit is used as a treatment for constipation, jaundice, and coughs.
Starfruit is one of those ingredients that add a bit of pizazz to any dish thanks to its unique shape. Their sweet, mildly acidic flavor with a sour undertone has a tropical feel to it that most find enjoyable. Those that didn’t enjoy the fruit have most likely eaten the sour variety or eaten an unripe fruit, which is very tart, similar to a lime.
Have you tried eating starfruit before? Let us know what you think of them in the comments below.