Carambola / Star Fruit (Averrhoa carambola)

The Star Fruit / Carambola (Averrhoa carambola), has a distinctive taste with usually at least some sourness. Unless you have one of the sweeter fruits, most people will prefer to eat with other fruit or as a salad component.

Flowering several times of year, the small flowers are a riot of pink/white/purple color.

star fruit tree

Tree Maintenance

A Star Fruit tree has a pleasant enough shape. The smaller branches do have a tendency to droop, but these branches produce the most fruit (and easiest to pick fruit)

I prune some of the lower branches for aesthetics as my tree yields far more than we can eat at home.

I also manage the height of the tree and remove some inner-facing branches to improve penetration of air and sunlight.

Fruit fly is a problem in my experience, but the tree fruits in waves throughout the year so we get some pest-free fruit seasonally.

Star Fruit Toxicity

Star Fruit can cause both nephrotoxicity and neurotxicity, so caution is warranted. Before I turn the discussion over to Dr. Michael Greger M.D. here are some common sense guidelines.

  1. Don’t eat star fruit if you have an underlying renal condition or a history of kidney stones. Speak with your doctor if you are unsure
  2. Don’t feed star fruit to people who are unaware of the risks
  3. If otherwise healthy, do not eat large quantities of star fruit. Use a small amount for taste, compost or preserve excess fruit.
  4. Even with the precautions listed above, consider if you want the risk lurking in your garden.

Neurotoxicity

Star Fruit contains a toxin, caramboxin. This is usually filtered by the kidneys in healthy individuals but can be a serious problem for people with an underlying renal issue.

Nephrotoxicity

Star Fruit / Carambola has a relatively high concentration of oxalate which can cause kidney problems. This is essentially the same problem seen with excess consumption of Swiss Chard, Spinach, Tea and other plant foods high in oxalate.

For more details, see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carambola

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