Article from the
Tropical Fruit News magazine of the Miami Rare Fruit Council
by Marcia Wood, Agricultural Research Service
Sweet and juicy starfiuit, fresh from orchards in Hawaii, has shown
up in select U.S. supermarkets during the past year, thanks in part to
research by ARS scientists.
Their experiments with more than
2,000 tree-ripened starfiuit, also known as carambola, proved that
chilling the fruit for 12 days at 34 Degrees F or below will kill any
fruit fly eggs or maggots that might be hiding in the harvest. The
tests, using more than 300,000 flies, opened the door for federal
approval to ship this exotic tropical fruit from the Hawaiian Islands
to mainland markets.
John W. Armstrong and colleagues at the ARS
Tropical Fruit and Vegetable Research Laboratory in Hilo, Hawaii,
demonstrated that three kinds of pests - Mediterranean and oriental
fruit flies and melon flies - can't survive the cold treatment. Similar
chilling regimens, developed earlier at other labs, are already
approved for killing stowaway medflies in about a dozen other kinds of
In Kurtistown, Hawaii, near the ARS lab, Eric Weinert of
Hula Brothers, Inc., Hawaii's largest grower and shipper of commercial
carambolas, began using the newly approved procedure last autumn to
market carambolas on the mainland. His company has shipped carambolas
to Canada for the past 5 years, harvested from some the Hula Brothers'
4,500 trees. Other growers in Hawaii, notes Weinert, market carambola
for consumption in the Islands, but the might expand production of Hula
Brothers' mainland venture is a success.
The cylinder shaped
fruit, about 4-7 inches long, ripens to a bright yellow. Its glossy
shin is thin, crisp, and doesn't need to be peeled. Carambola is
perhaps best know as a unique, star shaped garnish made by slicing
crosswise along its soft ribs or ridges. Unlike some starfuit types
that look better than they taste, the varieties that Weinert grows in
Hawaii are "exceptionally flavorful and always sweet," he says.
are low in calories and a good source of vitamin C and potassium. They
can be eaten fresh, added to fruit salads, chutney, or stewed fruit
dishes, and used to make jellies, tarts, preserves and juices.