Star fruit, five
fingers, five corners, bilimbing, are common names for
the tropical exotic fruit Averrhoa Carambola.
Dem Dats Doin introduced a sweet juicy variety to the
Toledo District in 1985. It was grown from seeds obtained
from the University of Hawaii in 1983. With proper care,
a tree will produce fruits within two years although at
Dem Dats Doin the trees bore fruits in 18 months.
The Carambola is an attractive small tree, grows to a
height of 4 to 8 meters at maturity but can easily be
kept at about 3 meters and still produce more fruit than
a family can use. The tiny attractive light to dark pink
clusters of flowers are borne on its trunk and branches.
The tree may be considered tropical, it prefers a warm
moist climate and a deep rich soil, but it can be grown
successfully on sandy soils and heavy clays. Carambolas
are well suited for light shade or full sun but have poor
salt tolerance and should be kept away from direct salt
wind. Its normal life span is approximately 25 years.
Carambola fruit on tree
are very few serious pest problems associated with carambolas.
Moths, butterflies and birds are serious pest problems if you
have intentions to sell fruits commercially. Otherwise for home
grown trees it is tolerable.
The first crop that we harvested were packed into buckets and
carried into PG town on market day (Saturday). Sample fruits were
handed out to interested farmers, telling them if you like the
fruit please plant the seeds as the fruits will grow true as the
original plant. We believe the majority of the carambolas sold
in the Toledo District originated from this first introduction
by Dem Dats Doin.
The Carambola belongs to the Oxalis family and the genus is
Averrhoa. The fruit is indigenous to Southeast Asia. The shape
of the fruit is very unusual, it is so deeply angled as to be
star shaped in cross section. The fruits vary in length from
three to four inches and from two to two and half inches wide.
The very thin skin covers a firm juicy flesh containing about
5 to 12 small seeds. The fruit may be harvested as soon as yellowing
begins, however, at this point the fruit is tart, leaving it
on the tree until the color changes to a dark yellow/orange
makes the fruit taste so much sweeter. The Carambolas at Dem
Dats Doin bear fruit 9 to 10 months out of the year.
people enjoy eating a ripe fruit out-of-hand as visitors to
Dem Dats Doin will attest. The fully ripe fruit may be made
into jam, jellies, tarts, pies, and even wines. Chilled and
sliced very thin crosswise makes a very attractive garnish addition
to salads. The Chinese and Hindus consume the carambola when
green as a vegetable, when ripe as a dessert. We process ripe
fruits into a delicious sweet pickle (see recipe below).
Carambolas are low in calories and good source of vitamin C
and potassium. The unripe fruit is used in dyeing, to remove
iron rust and to polish brassware. Dem Dats Doin process annually
thousands of seeds for export to seed companies.
Herbal medications: Carambola leaves for itchiness. Crush or
chop young leaves and extract the juice. Apply juice to the
skin or lesion to relieve itchiness, 3 times a day. Also used
to lower body temperature when a fever occurs.
cup Carambola, sliced (remove seeds)
1 Qt. water
salt and quart of water in large container with lid. Place
sliced carambola in salt water and soak overnight. Next
day, drain, rinse and drain again. Cover with cold water,
bring to a boil, turn heat down and boil for 10 minutes.
1 cup white vinegar
½ cup water
3 cup sugar
½ tsp. whole cloves
1 3" piece stick cinnamon
1 small lime, sliced thin
a syrup with white vinegar, water, sugar, whole cloves,
stick cinnamon and lime slices. Combine all ingredients
and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes.
carambola and add to syrup, over high heat bring to a
boil. Turn heat down and cook for 10 to 20 minutes, depending
on firmness of the fruit.
in jars and process in boiling water for 10 minutes. Makes