Whenever you find an exotic fruit you may wonder if it’s the best fruit, or how to tell when it’s ripe. After all, it’s a new and interesting fruit, and you may now know much about it.
This applies to star fruit as well. Not only is star fruit not easy to find if you don’t live in a tropical area, it’s also a bit tricky to tell when it’s ripe if you’re not familiar with it.
This is what we’ll be covering today: when is starfruit ripe, and how you can tell. So you can always pick the ripest, best star fruit around.
When is star fruit ripe ?
Star fruit (also known as carambola) is ripe when the outside of the fruit is a vibrant, shiny yellow with a waxy texture. You may notice the edges of the star are turning a little brown, and that’s a good sign.
This unique five-faceted shape has a luxuriant green look when raw. As it ripens it turns into a beautiful yellow shade, but this takes time.
A cross-cut slice of star fruit looks like a beautiful five-point star and if it is ripe, the pulp has a yellowish white look.
You need to know the degree of ripeness by looking at or touching the fruit so you can pick the right star fruits when you are buying them from a store or plucking them from the trees. The degree of the ripeness reflects in the color, taste, and texture of the fruit.
There are different degrees of ripeness of the star fruit. And different people may enjoy different state of ripeness of the fruit. Or the same person may like different stages of ripeness at different times of a week or month.
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Different stages of ripeness in star fruit
The first stage of ripeness of star fruit may not make it look yellow at all. It is when the fruit is mature and has just begun to advance towards ripeness.
At this stage, the fruit has a crisp, tart, and juicy texture. It tastes somewhere between sweet and light sour. The pulp is white while the skin is bright green.
The second stage of its ripeness can be obtained by leaving it on the counter for a couple of days. This will make the skin turn from green to a faded yellow while the edges of its facets will turn brown.
Keep turning it every 12 hours so it can ripen evenly and does not sag under its weight. It is good to be eaten as long as its skin is bright yellow and the fruit is still hard on touch.
The third stage of ripeness can be when the fruit is over-ripened. At this stage the star fruit may completely turn yellow, has a wrinkled skin, and a mushy texture. The edges may have shriveled look.
When you have stage two ripe star fruit, you can store it for about a week in your refrigerator, or up to 3 days on the counter or in a plastic bag. Before, eating properly wash and clean them.
Harvesting ripe star fruits
If you have a home garden with a few carambola trees bearing star fruits, you may be wondering when is the right time to pluck the star fruits?
Well, you are lucky to have plant-ripened star fruits with its rich taste, texture, and flavor with extra freshness. You would like to pick the fruits at its optimal ripeness. Ideal harvest times are from autumn to winter, in tropical areas.
But once the fruits are fully ripened, they will fall on the ground. This can damage the fruit and after that it would be difficult to store them for long periods.
So, after realizing that the fruits are ripening, handpicking the star fruits is the best way to harvest them. Regularly checking on the ripening fruits can give you a solid cue when they should be picked.
Ripe fruits would take a yellow color all over, except the edges and tips where it would still be a little green. The ripening star fruits will look gorgeous with a waxy appearance.
If they’re starting to turn a little brown towards the edges they may still be okay, but are starting to be overripe.
How to store ripe star fruit
A fully ripe fruit will take just a slight pull to get detached from the tree. If you harvest the fruits in the morning, the lower ambient temperature will help the storage of star fruits.
Harvesting star fruits is done from mid-summer to late fall. So, keep a watch on the fruits for their ripeness from mid-summer onwards. A clear sign that the star fruits are ripe is when the fruits start turning completely yellow, and the skin has a glossy, waxy look.
You can give the fruit a slight tug, and it would slip out of the tree into your hand. That’s when you know it’s fully ripe and must be harvested before they start falling to the ground.
The best time for the fruit to be picked from the trees is when the fruits are still more green than yellow. If you pick the fruits in this state of ripeness, it can be kept in the storage and used for a longer period of time.
However, it is better to use the fully ripen fruits immediately instead of storing.
A great source of Vitamin C and only 30 calories per fruit with lots of fiber, star fruits are a great choice for diabetics and those trying to lose weight. These fruits are also loaded with flavonoids and antioxidants.
Buying ripe star fruits
When ripe, star fruits appear bright yellow with a hint of light green. They may also sport dark brown edges. The flesh is still a bit firm and strong to the touch.
You should buy these fruits when they are still a bit green and wait for them to ripen. When they become over-ripe, star fruits start sporting tiny brown spots all over. These fruits taste great when eaten raw and fresh, but they can also be juiced or cooked.
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Star fruits are wonderful both in looks and taste. They pack in a lot of fruity benefits from high fiber to low calorie, vitamin C and antioxidants.
However the right harvesting is important for these fruits to have a longer storage life. Knowing when the fruits are ripe and ready to be picked and eaten holds the key to the secret wonders of this fruit.
So, we come back to our original question: When is star fruit ripe? To answer this question, we can say that a star fruit is ripe when it looks more yellow than green and when its skins looks yellow and juicy.
The whole fruit has a wonderful waxy look that’s so tempting to touch, feel and eat. When fully ripe, the fruit may look only yellow with no traces of any color. But some of them have a bit of green here and there on the fruit, nevertheless they are equally ripe.