How to Dehydrate Carambolas

Averrhoa carambola (Star fruit, carambola). Fruit from Pali o Waipio at Hawea Pl Olinda, Maui, Hawaii
Fig. 1
Averrhoa carambola
(Star fruit, carambola).
Fruit from Pali o Waipio at Hawea Pl Olinda, Maui, Hawaii

The carambola, Averrhoa carambola, is an unusual three to seven inch artificial looking waxy fruit.
Fruit color can be orange, yellow, or almost white, and the fruit has five prominent ribs running the length of the fruit. When cut in cross sections, you get attractive star shaped pieces. For this reason, it is often called star fruit. The fruits vary widely in quality; some seedlings have very sour inferior fruit, while many named grafted varieties are sweet and delicious. 1

Stages of ripeness
Fig. 2
Different stages of ripeness of the 'Kary' variety

Choose ripe fruit. Make sure that the fruit you use is mature, firm, and ripe. Fruit that is damaged, unripe, or overripe will lack nutritional value, won't dry as well, and won't taste as good since the sugars aren't at their peak stage of development.

Wash the fruit. Rinse the fruit under cool, running water, scrubbing it gently with your fingers to remove any visible dirt or debris. Pat the fruit dry with a clean paper towel when finished.

Trimming the ends and the ribsThe fruit ready to be sliced
Fig. 3 Fig. 4
 First, you cut both ends and remove the thin green ribbing.

Cutting the fruit
Fig. 5 
Cut the fruit into into very thin slices  roughly 1⁄8 to 1⁄4 inch (0.3 to 0.6 cm) thin.

Drying with a Food Dehydrator
Food dehydrator
    Set the dehydrator to its "fruit" setting. If no such setting exists, set the temperature to 135 °F (57 °C).
Preparing the fruit on the trays
Fig. 6  
Spread the fruit over the dehydrator rack in a single layer. The exact amount of drying time will vary by fruit and thickness, but it will usually be ready after one or two days. Dry the fruit for 24 to 48 hours.
Begin checking the fruit after the first 24 hours to prevent it from over-drying. Afterward, check on it every 6 to 8 hours.
Dehydrated fruitCollect the fruit
Fig. 7 Fig. 8 
Collect the finished fruit. When ready, the fruit should be shriveled and chewy. Squeeze it gently; it should be fairly rigid since the moisture has been drawn out of the squishy flesh. Most fruit will be pliable or leathery when done, meaning you can bend it and tear it, but it won’t be so dry that you can snap it.

Note: I now use an Excalibur Dehydrator because the large square trays hold more fruit than round dehydrators with holes in the middle do. I also like that the trays slide in and out rather than stack, no need to restack them during the process to make sure they dehydrate uniformaly.

Storing the Dried Fruits

 Storing the fruit
Fig. 9 

    Store in an airtight container in a cool place. Stored in this manner, most dried fruits will last from 9 to 12 months. Packaged dried fruits should be consumed faster once opened, and may need to be stored in the refrigerator in a sealed bag, to prevent deterioration. This is especially so if the original dried fruits are still somewhat moist rather than completely dehydrated.
    Dried fruit can be stored in a cool room temperature environment in a dark place for several months in its original packaging, unopened. This presumes that the packaging is properly sealed; if not, you'll need to pop it into a resealable bag. Once opened, dried fruit will stay at its best if placed into a resealable bag and kept in a cool place. If you wish to keep the fruit moist, stick a piece of clean orange peel in with it. If the room temperature is hot, consider transferring the package to the refrigerator or a cellar environment. Whatever container you use, it must be airtight. Dried fruit can also be stored frozen for up to a year; it thaws quickly once removed from the freezer.

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1 Joyner, Gene. "The Carambola." Tropical Fruit News, Miami Rare Fruit Council. May. 1995. Vol. 29. Web. 21 Apr. 2017.


Fig. 1 Starr, Forest and Kim. Averrhoa carambola (Star fruit, carambola). Fruit from Pali o Waipio at Hawea Pl Olinda, Maui, Hawaii. 2012. Under (CC BY 2.0). Web. 26 Apr.2017.
Fig. 2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,  Robitaille, Liette. "Carambola Series." 2004.  JPG File.

Published 27 Apr. 2017 LR
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