OnCentral's summer series on fruits that are ripe to eat -- and good for your health.
The vibrant yellow star fruit begins to hit it's peak season in July and remains ripe throughout the summer. The tropical fruit looks a lot like the inside of a pineapple, and is as much fun to eat as it is to cut into its natural celestial shape.
Grown in Thailand, Southeast Asia, Australia, South America, Hawaii and Florida, star fruit is readily available at most grocery stores nearly year-round. When buying one, look for a firm, shiny skin with light patches of brown along the ribbing -- which indicates ripeness.
The star fruit (aka Carambola) is high in vitamins A and C as well as fiber, and low in calories (only about 30 per fruit.) It's perfect to eat raw, cooked or dried. It's common in sweet dishes like fruit salads or ice cream desserts, but can also be made savory cooked into rice or homemade bread.
Some use the fruit as a home remedy to treat fevers and headaches, and even cure hangovers; or (believe it or not) it can be used to clean metal or remove paint stains. The skin of the star fruit contains tannin which can help regulate the intestine and be used to treat diarrhea.
An added bonus of these fruits is that they don't need to be peeled-- just wash and eat. Most star fruit are naturally sweet and tart, tasting a bit like pineapple and plum, but with a slightly waxy skin. They range in color from light yellow, to greenish or orange.