RECIPE A burst of flavours with carambola, cloves and vinegar
C arambola or star fruit is native to Indonesia, India and Sri Lanka. This fruit acquired its name from the star shape it gets when sliced. It has a waxy, golden yellow to green colour skin with a complicated flavour combination that includes plums, pineapples, and lemons. The fruit is popular throughout Southeast Asia, Malaysia and parts of East Asia. It is grown throughout the tropics such as Trinidad and in the U.S., Brazil and Hawaii.
Star fruit is rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, and low in sugar, sodium and acid. Studies have shown that primary antioxidants can help prevent the damage of free radicals and that secondary antioxidants can help reverse the damage that exists in our systems. Vitamin C is an essential ingredient in a strong immune system and general wellbeing.
It is extremely juicy, and sweet without being overwhelming. The taste is difficult to compare, but it has been likened to a mix of papaya, orange and grape fruit. Selection
Select firm, shiny-skinned, even coloured fruits. Star fruits will ripen at room temperature, and have light brown edges on the ribs when it's ripe. Avoid purchasing star fruit with brown, shrivelled ribs. This delicious fruit is also available dried.
Non-ripe star fruit should be turned often, until they are yellow in colour and ripe with light brown ribs. Store ripe star fruits at room temperature for two to three days or unwashed and refrigerated, in a plastic bag for up to one week. Now for a recipe.
Sweet Star Fruit Relish
Thinly sliced star fruit — 8 cups
Salt — Half tsp
Cider vinegar — One-and-a-half cups
Whole cloves — 1 tbsp
Sugar — 4 cups
Wash and thinly slice star fruit, taking care to remove seeds. Cover with cider vinegar and allow to stand overnight.
Drain off vinegar. Combine star fruit with sugar and salt. Add cloves that have been placed in a cheesecloth bag and lightly pounded. Cook gently to the consistency of preserves.
Allow to stand overnight. Remove spice bag and reheat mixture to boiling point.
Pack into jars.
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