• Green/yellow, waxy, thin skin.
  • Star shaped in cross section.
  • Crisp juicy flesh which is a transparent yellow/white.
  • Usually sweet – similar taste to an apple.
  • 4-5 seeds.

Fruits are oval in shape, 80-200mm in length, and 60 – 100mm in diameter, with five acutely angled sides, giving a star shape in cross section. Technically the fruit is a fleshy berry.

Consumers vary in their preference. Some like very green, acid, others prefer yellow, fully ripe fruit with the strong oxalic acid/tannin taste and others favour the milder types. Oxalic acid and tannins strongly influence taste, and are present in higher levels in the ridges of the fruit wings than in the body of the fruit.

The maturity stages of the fruit influences taste considerably and sugar levels do not increase after harvest. Most varieties must be picked at near full colour development (either orange, yellow or yellow/white) to ensure maximum sweetness.

Carambola are lovely eaten fresh and because of their star shaped form when sliced, make a very attractive accompaniment or garnish to pavlovas, fruit salad, gateaux’s and platters. They compliment seafood dishes and savoury salads well and make a refreshing drink when juiced.

The trees grow best in a tropical to subtropical climate, with 1500-3000mm of rain, well distributed throughout the year. Carambola fruit are grown successfully as far south as northern New South Wales, where growth is slower. Trees grown in drier areas like Cairns, Cardwell, Mareeba and Townsville-Ayr produce sweeter fruits than areas such as Daintree, Innisfail and Tully, in Queensland.

Climatic factors and, in particular, temperature have the largest effect on fruit quality and control the size, sweetness, acidity and flavour of the fruit. Fruit sweetness is affected both by genetic and climatic factors, particularly by the total hours of sunlight during the last few weeks of fruit maturity.

Soil should be well drained, as Carambola does not thrive in waterlogged conditions.

Young trees may be damaged or killed by frost whilst mature trees are more tolerant. They prefer full sun and should not be shaded. Seedlings fruit at the age of 5-8 years whilst grafted trees fruit at 1-2 years.

Carambolas are reasonably resistant to dry periods, however irrigation is usually required for good growth and fruit development.

The Carambola originated in Malaysia and Indonesia. The characteristic star-shaped fruit has been grown in northern Australia for over 100 years, but not until recently has the fruit gained wider consumer appeal due to the introduction of sweeter and better flavoured varieties.

Between 1975 and 1985, a number of the world’s best cultivars were imported into Australia
and subsequently the fruit has emerged as an interesting addition to the fruit table.

Season: Summer,Autumn,Winter,Spring

Botanical Name: Averrhoa carambola (Oxalidaceae)

Health Benefits

Good source of vitamin C, reasonable source of potassium.

100g of Carambola yields the following:

  • Calories – 31
  • Total Carbs – 2% of DV
  • Protein – 1.04g
  • Dietary Fibre – 11% of DV
  • Vitamin A – 1% of DV
  • Vitamin C – 57% of DV

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Selecting tips

Select firm, well-coloured fruit that is free of dark blemishes, with a clean waxy skin and crisp appearance. It may be best to stock a range of fruit to cater for varying consumer tastes.

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