Starfruit | How To Use, Health Benefits & Stellar Recipes

starfruit sliced and wholeWhat is a Starfruit? The Starfruit (also known as Carambola)  is an oblong yellow fruit with five deep ridges running lengthwise — so crosswise-cut slices resemble adorable stars. An edible, thin waxy skin covers the golden flesh within that has a mildly sweet-tart flavor and crispy texture.  Native to Sri Lanka and the Moluccas, and has been cultivated in Southeast Asia and Malaysia for almost 1,000 years.

Starfruit as garnish to stir-fry

How do you eat it? Just slice it and serve, the skin is edible. However, some people prefer to peel it before eating. This five-pointed fruit is a fun way to dress up salads, cocktails and dessert trays. You can also use it to add a stellar touch to smoothie bowls and they are delicious poached. I’ve even seen some people use them to add a festive touch to the top of pies, upside down cakes and other baked goods!

star fruit

Excuse the hideous post-run hair and bad lighting but this is what a starfruit looks like before cutting.

What are the Health Benefits?  Starfruit is a great source of vitamin C and fiber. They also provide hydration and healthy complex carbs to fuel your body and brain. It also contains important flavonoids including quercetin, epicatechin, and gallic acid.  However, Starfruit (carambola) has high levels of Oxalic acid which could cause kidney stones or renal distress in those with or predispose to kidney disease. Additionally, like grapefruit, starfuit can interfere with the absorption of certain drugs. Anyone taking medication or that has kidney disease should seek the advice of their doctor before eating this exotic fruit.

How to Select and Store: Depending on the variety, Starfruit will be a light greenish-yellow to deeper gold when ripe. There may be some dark brown along the five ridges and this is perfectly fine. Flesh should still be quite firm to the touch. Store at room temperature until ripe and then refrigerate in covered container. Star fruit may also be stored in the freezer for approximately three months. To prep for freezer, cut the fruit vertically into star-shaped slices and spread out on sheet pan in a single layer to freeze individually. After hardened, transfer starfuit to a heavy-duty, zip-top storage bag.

Recipe Ideas:

Starfruit Upside Down Cake from Friedas.com Starfruit Upside Down Cake from Friedas.com

Chocolate Dipped Starfruit from Friedas.com  (I think ths is an amazing healthier treat for all sorts of holidays including 4th of July, Memorial Day, Christmas and other winter celebrations).

Chocolate Dipped Starfruit from Friedas.com

Celestial Starfruit  & Orange Kale Salad star fruit salad

Have you ever tried a starfruit? What did you think? If not, what is the most interesting fruit you’ve eaten? Please share in the comments, XOXO  – Jennifer

3 Ways to Chow a Cherimoya + My #MustHaveBox

Just when I think I’ve tasted every type of fruit and vegetable there is to eat (ever been to Produce Convention), I realize that a tasty treat has slipped past my radar – the Cherimoya. Mark Twain once likened the cherimoya “deliciousness itself!”  – how did I ever miss the memo on this quite large and armored lizard-skinned looking fruit!

Discover easy, tasty ways to eat a Cherimoya (also known as a Custard Apple)

Cherimoya

Once set aside solely for ancient Incan royalty, this “King of Fruit” is still a prized possession – they are delicious and hard to find . . . and usually fairly big-bucks if you do. But, so worth the investment as you will gobble up this healthy treat in a single sitting, especially if you have a friend sitting nearby with a spoon. The flesh inside is amazingly fragrant, soft, sweet and scoopable – there some seeds inside, but they aren’t too hard to flick away.  When selecting afruit, pick a cherimoya that is still green but showing minor signs of turning brown soon. Like an avocado, the fruit is ripened with the flesh yields to a gentle touch. So, if your fruit is still green and hard, let it ripen on the counter for up to three days – or stick in a paper bag to speed the process along.  Check out my friends at Frieda’s for other great Cherimoya Recipes and Tips.

So, my top 3 ways to chow a cherimoya are:

Cherimoya sprinkle with cinnamon and nutmeg1)  Sprinkle with Spices: Sliced in half and sprinkled with cinnamon, dash of nutmeg and a bit of honey drizzle – I swear it tastes just like apple pie. My kids think it tastes more like a pineapple and banana that got married and laid a big prehistoric egg.  Either way, it’s a taste bud winner – haha!

Pureed Frozen Cherimoya - Smoothie and Meal Pret2) Mixed into Oatmeal: I put chunks or puree of cherimoya in my morning oatmeal.  This is a great way for me to boost up the vitamin C, potassium, and in my fiber in my daily diet. If I find the fruit on sale or can’t eat what I’ve purchased before going too ripe, I simply puree the fruit in the blender with a tiny splash of lemon juice and freeze in heavy-duty zip-top bags (above picture). This will keep in the back of your freezer for 6 months! You can also sub in for 1/2 the oil in baked goods as you would applesauce, pumpkin or another fruit puree.

Apple Cider Cherimoya Smoothie is loaded with fall flavor, fiber, vitamin C and more!

3) Blended into Smoothie: Blending cherimoya with orange juice is traditional but my recipe for Cherimoya Apple Cider Smoothie is super yummy.  I use one of the delicious, cold-pressed, 100% juice apple ciders from Litehouse Foods — so fresh you need to look for it in the produce department!

Directions: Add 2 tablespoons oats to bottom of blender, pulse for a few seconds to grind up. Add ½ cup cherimoya puree (preferably frozen) or fresh chunks, 3/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk, ½ cup apple cider, ½ teaspoon cinnamon and 1 tablespoon honey (or sugar-free alternative) to blender and blend for 1 minute, adding a few ice cubes to achieve desired consistency. Serves 1.

Must Have Box from POPSUGAR

Also, I want to share with you my favorite little luxury each month – it’s the PopSugar #MustHaveBox from POPSUGAR.  The Must Have Box is a specially-curated monthly subscription that is filled with full-sized products across fashion, beauty, home décor, upscale edibles and more. I absolutely have adored everything that’s come in my monthly box – often they are splurges that I would never buy myself (but am oh-so happy to have) or fabulously off-beat, quirky things that I never knew I needed until I have in my hot little hands – and then I’m hooked!

The Fit Fork - POPSUGAR Must Have Box

Must Have Box from POPSUGARThe October box included a book, Power Your Happy, by POPSUGAR founder Lisa Sugar, a gorgeous umbrella from Henri Bendel (along with a shopping discount card), Dark Drinking Chocolate (by My Cup of Cocoa) and a Rise & Shine Diner Mug (by Morning Culture). The Lalicious Bubble Bath, Revlon Eye Pen and Makeup Eraser Mini really spoke to my girly side, that’s a nice treat when a mom of three boys!  Check out some of the past Must Have Boxes  and sign up for a subscription that suits you – save $5 on your first box with code SHOP5.  Whoohoo!

What is your MUST HAVE this month? Tip me off on your new, most favorite, most awesome find! Oh, and have you ever tried a Cherimoya?! Please share in the comments – XOXO, Jennnifer 

 

Hunger Slaying Dragon Fruit Coconut Smoothie Bowl

I must say, I slayed yesterday’s tempo run and I think it was the dragon fruit smoothie I made for my afternoon snack.  Just like the perfect run, where speed comes without too much suffering, can be elusive . . . so is the dragon fruit.  You don’t see this beautiful tropical fruit very often, mainstream markets don’t usually carry them – so if you ever do see one, snatch it up! jennifer dragon fruitThe Dragon Fruit, also known as a Pitaya, Strawberry Pear or Mood Flower, is the unusually striking fruit of a cactus – don’t worry, there are no thorns or stickers on it!  There are different varieties – pink or yellow exterior and white or magenta interiors speckled with tiny edible seeds. Despite their showy appearance, the taste is quite mild, similar to a kiwi – I have found the yellow variety to be the sweetest.

Health Benefits of Dragon Fruit: First of all, like most fruits, dragon fruit is hydrating and provides healthy complex carbohydrates to fuel to body and brain. Dragon fruit is also surprisingly high in phytonutrients. Rich with beneficial antioxidants, this pretty (and pretty powerful fruit) a serving contains 10% Daily Value of vitamin C, polyunsaturated (good) fatty acids, a bit of protein, carotene, and several B vitamins that are essential for the optimal metabolism of carbohydrates.

Dragon Fruit Varieties

dannon dragon fruit yogurt1I recently came into a huge windfall of dragon fruit from Frieda’s Produce, so I ate all I could simple by slicing open and digging out the flesh with a spoon! I’ve also sliced the fruit and put on my salads, in my yogurt and used in salsas.  They keep for about a week in the fridge (wrap in plastic wrap to extend the life) and can also be cut up or pureed to freeze. Later this week, before I go into freezer storage mode,  I’ll be  making Dragon Fruit Chia Jam. Stay tuned for that!

Dragon Fruit Coconut Smoothie Bowl is brimming with beautiful yumminess -- the perfect breakfast, workout snack or healthy dessert! Of course, you can also pour this smoothie in a tall glass! for on-the-go enjoyment.

Today, I’m sharing that smoothie I hinted at, the one that made me run fast – haha!  My recipe for a Dragon Fruit Coconut Smoothie Bowl is a nourishing sweet treat that is a quick fix for breakfast, a pre or post workout snack or healthy dessert. It was almost too pretty to eat. Almost.  If you can’t find the fruit fresh, I’ve noticed that many upscale grocery stores sell it in the frozen fruit section.

Dragon Fruit Coconut Smoothie Bowl

Dragon Fruit Coconut Smoothie Bowl

  • 1 cup dragon fruit flesh (fresh or frozen)
  • 12 ounces almondmilk/coconutmilk (the carton kind from refrigerated section like Blue Diamond)
  • 1 scoop vanilla protien powder (or substitute 1/2 banana)
  • Ice
  • 2 tablespoons shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1 tablespoon cacao nibs (I like the ones from NOW Foods)
  • Additional dragon fruit for garnish

To prepare, add dragon fruit, unsweetened coconut milk, and protein powder to blender. Process until smooth. Pulse in enough ice until desired consistency achieved. Pour into bowl (or tall glass)  and top with shredded coconut, cacao nibs and additional dragon fruit if desired. Serves 1

Have you ever tried a Dragon Fruit? What is your favorite smoothie ingredient? Had a good, end-of-summer run lately? Please share in the comments – XOXO, Jennifer

 

Thai Coconut Shrimp with Finger Limes ( a freaky little fruit )

Finger Lime Coconut Shrimp Soup made in the style of Tom Kha Gai

What do you do with these weird little limes? They’re called Finger Limes and also “citrus caviar” because of the caviar-like bubbles of tangy citrus pulp on the inside. Exotic fruit afficianaos describe the favor as “tart, lemon-lime with slight herbaceous notes.”  These little-bitty limes hail from Australia’s coastal and rainforest areas – but are also now grown as a specialty product in California.Finger Lime - Citrus CaviarAn enthusiastic citrus-squeezer could make mini margaritas, but I’m saving that as treat to look forward to after my Spartan Beast Dallas race on October 31st (talk about a scary Halloween)!  Tonight I’m sharing a version of a favorite soup, Tom Kha Gai – you know, that spicy Thai soup with chicken and coconut milk. But, I’m doing huge shrimp and lots of limes – it’s a winner, winner for an easy and exotic dinner. You’re going to love this Thai Coconut Shrimp Soup with Finger Limes, especially now that the weather is cooler. If you don’t have finger limes, just swap in two limes sliced thinly and then into quarters. Also, I’ve used a LOT of Instantly Fresh herbs in here (so convenient and next best thing to fresh) — but feel free to swap in fresh chopped if you prefer.Thai Coconut Shrimp Soup with Finger Limes

 

What is your favorite soup? What is your favorite Thai dish? Would you eat soup for breakfast? What’s the weirdest fruit you’ve ever tried? Please share in the comments — XOXO, Jennifer

Finger Lime Coconut Shrimp Soup made in the style of Tom Kha Gai
Thai Coconut Shrimp Soup with Finger Limes
Print Recipe
This delicious Thai soup is a quick fix and satisfies tastes for spicy and slightly sweet! The finger limes are a delicious addition that makes dinner pop. If you don't have finger limes, just swap in 2 regular limes sliced thinly and quartered.
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Finger Lime Coconut Shrimp Soup made in the style of Tom Kha Gai
Thai Coconut Shrimp Soup with Finger Limes
Print Recipe
This delicious Thai soup is a quick fix and satisfies tastes for spicy and slightly sweet! The finger limes are a delicious addition that makes dinner pop. If you don't have finger limes, just swap in 2 regular limes sliced thinly and quartered.
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: servings
Instructions
  1. Add coconut oil to medium-sized stock pot and saute for approximately 1 minute, or until softened. Add stock to pot along with lemongrass, ginger, mint, basil, chili, and limes.
  2. Simmer for 10 minutes. Add in the coconut milk and simmer for another 10 minutes. Salt to taste.
  3. Add in the shrimp and simmer for 8-10 minutes. Serve warm.
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