Carambola is a fruit native to Indian Sub-continent and South East Asia. This fruit bearing tropical tree is now grown in other parts of the world. When you cut the fruit into roundels, instead of roundels you will get starels (stars) and hence the other popular name of Carambola is Star fruit.
This is because the structure of the fruit has five ridges running down its sides.
Different languages have different names for the Star Fruit. In Kannada it is known as Kamarakshi, and in Hindi it is known as Kamrakh. Carambola tree is slow-growing and grows to a height of 30 feet.
The leaves are green, ovate, about 4 to 9 cm in length. Flowers are red, lilac, or purple bloom in clusters on the twigs in the axils of the leaves.
The fruits are oblong around 6 to 15 cms in length and up to 9 cms in width. The skin of star fruit is thin, waxy, green or orange or yellow. The flesh is juicy, crunchy, and sweet-sour. Small thin seeds are embedded in the middle of the fruit. You can bite into the young seeds but they turn hard as they ripen.
There are two types of Carambola fruit, one is the small green and sour variety and other are big, yellow, and sweet-sour.
In India, Carambola fruits are available in September to January. The raw fruit is cut and sprinkled with Salt and Chili Powder and relished. The ripe ones are sweet and relished without any garnish.
The fruit is used to prepare juice, jams, jellies, salad, pickles, and added while cooking vegetables. Due to the presence of healing enzymes in the Star fruit, it is used to treat cardiovascular diseases.
Carambola is propagated by seeds. Plant them in full sun in good soil. Feed a fertilizer 3 to 4 times every year.