Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Star Appeal!!

My mother-in-law sent me a whole lot of produce from her garden.
Besides the star fruit there were two bunches of bananas, bay-
leaves, fragrant lemons, a small pumpkin, corn and bamboo shoot.
The last came cut into thin fine slices, wrapped in a kind of
leaf that is commonly used for wrapping food in north-eastern

I've always been fascinated by this fruit and the tree. Originally
from Sri Lanka and the Malaccas, this tree has been cultivated in
many south-east Asian countries for hundreds of years. Mature trees
reach a height of 25 to 30 ft with several branches. The blooms are
mauve with purple tinge and the fruit grows in clusters.

When it comes to bearing fruit the only word which comes to mind
is, prolific. At my ma-in-law's there are hundreds of fruit during
the season and they look so pretty hanging like green and yellow
little lanterns. Green or yellow, depending on its maturity. This
is the sour variety and is good for pickling. There are two kinds;
the other is the sweet variety. Even the sour ones turn sweetish when
they ripen. ripe fruit turn yellow with light brown splotches on them.

There are many medicinal properties attributed to this fruit. Several
sites list the benefits, but ever since I was a child I've heard about
the juice of the star-fruit curing jaundice. Maybe not on its own but
with other prescriptions of alternative medicine.

Also known as carambola this fruit is now found/grown in all sub-
tropical and tropical regions of the world.
This picture shows stars in the making ( of the pickle!) A full day
in the hot sun and they're ready to be spiced up!

Freshly cut, mixed with turmeric and salt. Out they go to soak up
the sun! After being sunned I've added these spices....
Whole ones that went into the hot oil---
Fenugreek, mustard, bits of dry chillies, caraway seeds, cumin seeds
bay-leaves and asafoetida.

Roasted and ground into submission------
Coriander seeds, cumin seeds, caraway seeds, fennel.

Soaked in vinegar and ground--------
Dry chillies and about ten cloves of garlic. The last ingredient
enhances the taste and the flavour!

The pickled stars!! A few more days of sunning and voila, the
pickle will be ready for the eatin'!


Anonymous said...

I love all the exotic fruits & plants you are able to grow in your garden. I've never tried the starfruit before and this pickling process sounds quite interesting.

Carla said...

How beautiful!

tina said...

Looks great! We in our family try to eat one exotic fruit per shopping trip. These were really good when we tried them. Must be the sweet kind. Loved seeing the tree.

Linda Lunda said...

Ohh what a nice post! I saw some starfruit-trees in Thailand when we where there last time.

Anonymous said...

How wonderful! You know these just scream, "Christmas!" Pickled it!

walk2write said...

I love star fruit! They are pretty expensive here in the States so I don't buy them very often. I just got done reading a post from a Swedish blogger who said he suffers from fruit allergies. I would be devastated if I could not eat that good stuff. Your star fruit pickles are as lovely to look at as they must be delicious to eat.

Laurie from My Garden To Yours said...

They look so delish! I have never had star fruit and I think it is quite expensive here where I live. Lucky you for all the cool things you can grow and eat too!

Lucy Corrander said...

A really attractive post.

I've only tried star fruit dried in sugar and the flavour wasn't interesting, even though it looked good.

Lots of things are like that - so much better when you can eat them fresh from the tree or bush. And perhaps you;ve hit on a new export business. I agree with Nancy - how wonderful it would be to have star pickles for Christmas.

By the way, I keep meaning to say how I enjoy your changing header and very attractive sidebar.

What is the beautiful green fruit that is 'the taste of summer'?


Rhonda said...

I love this fruit though it was easier to get when we lived in florida. I've never seen it prepared the way you do though..looks yummy! Isn't it funny that what some people think of as exotic is normal to some?

Titania said...

We grow starfruit, the sweet variety which is very luscious. Here in our area we are very plagued with fruitfly which is a menace to this fruit. We always have a lot which are affected. The chickens don't mind. Your Carambola pickle looks very intriguing and I am sure it is a delicatessen. Lovely present all this fresh produce.

Kanak Hagjer said...

PGL, thanks but I feel exactly the same about you especially when you write about native plants. I've never tasted pecan but will be scouring around the super-markets. Recently, I got tinned American blueberries (yummy!) so there's hope!

Carla, thank you for stopping by and congrats on your recent land purchase!

Tina, the sweet variety's fine. One ingredient i forgot to mention in the pickle is sugar. This needs quite a bit of sugar too!
Exotic ( from the eastern point of view) fruits aren't available here. But once in a while, from bigger cities, i've had the chance to taste avocados and African pears. Some north-eastern states have also started growing kiwi and this is a welcome addition to the local fruit market.

Linda Lunda, thank you for visiting and for your kind comment.

Nancy, thank you so much---with a word like 'star' you can't help using it over and over again!

W2W, fruit allergy? I'd be devastated too!
Star fruit grows abundantly here so pickles/juice are popular to the point of being common. The pickles are quite tasty especially if they're sweet-sour and go very well with Indian bread (roti).

Laurie, thanks for your comment. Will be at your garden soon!

Lucy, thanks for mentioning the header and sidebar too! The fruit is a mango. It's taken from a different angle, not where the fruit has its distinctive shape. Very few mangoes this year--two big branches broke and I've whined about them in my very early posts!
You're right about having fruit fresh from the tree. There's no substitute for that!

Rhonda, very true. For me picking an apple from the tree would be a dream turning to reality. We do have apples in some regions but---never happened to be there during the "season"!

Trudi, sorry to hear about the fruitfly. Better-tasting things can be so tempting to so many other creatures.
Sugar needs to be added to the pickle because it's so sour, but goes well with different kinds of bread that we have.
Whenever anyone goes to our home town fresh garden stuff is always sent. Here, we live in small, compact areas with no space to plant so many kinds of fruit or vegetables. My appreciation is all the more because my ma-in-law is in frail health and is in her 80s. There was something else that I forgot to mention---fresh ginger too! Thank you for your comment.

marmee said...

i love this fruit but never heard of the pickling process before. it sounds like something i would try.

Kanak Hagjer said...

Hi Marmee, you might like it too! The sweet-sour taste is yummy!!