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Introducing: Starfruit

Starfruit, pictured above as the orange-ish stars near the rim of the cup, can be found almost year-round in your local grocery store. Photo credit: Randy Mayor; Lydia DeGaris-Pursell.

One of my favorite things to do is to introduce my friends to starfruit. I love watching as they crinkle their faces trying to place the flavors: pear, pineapple, plum, lemon. Starfruit has been described a lot of different ways. It’s complex. Somehow it’s all vaguely familiar but completely foreign. To whomever I'm introducing it, it’s lush with mystery; to me it’s a simple fruit I picked up from the grocery store for less than $2.

Starfruit is a subtropical fruit that started in the East and is now also grown in places like Florida and Brazil. Depending on the variety it can be sweet to slightly tart. The fruit itself is about 4-6 inches long.

Bar November and December, starfruit can be found in most grocery stores year-round. Chains like Publix, Whole Foods, and Safeway usually carry small supplies of them. These fruits are often hidden near other tropical fruit like coconuts, in a humble, easy-to-overlook basket. If you’re having trouble locating them, don’t hesitate to ask the produce staff for help, but you might need to use the fruit’s scientific name, carambola.

Look for glossy, yellow-colored fruit. Green means the fruit isn’t ripe. A touch of green, especially on the edges, will make for a perfectly ripe fruit if left on the counter for a few days–once ripe, store in the fridge.

To add a peppy, nutritious kick to your day pop these Vitamin-C packed goodies on yogurt, throw a few in a tropical fruit salad, or garnish your drink with a star-shaped slice. You don’t need to do anything elaborate to make starfruit tasty; simply slice horizontally to create little stars, arrange on a plate and eat. They’re sure to bring a little brightness to your day and help you meet this month 12 Healthy Habits goal: Eat More Fruit and Vegetables.

Here are a few ways to try your starfruit:

Tropical Fruit Salad

Carambola-Papaya Salad with Honey-Mint Dressing

Shrimp and Carambola Salad