star fruit/ mbirimbi

  • #juicy,
  • #starfruit,
  • #carambola,
  • #cane-apple,
  • #5fingers,
  • #mbirimbi,
  • #fruits
Star fruit/ mbirimbi

Star fruit is a juicy tropical fruit also known as carambola. It resembles a star in shape. When it's cut at a cross section, its pieces resemble cute little stars and is native to Malayan peninsula. Its parent plant is known as Averrhoa Carambola tree. It is grown in Thailand and throughout South East Asia, Australia and South America.

The start fruit is available in two varieties, a small pungent one and a large one that is sweeter. The sour varieties have a higher oxalic acid content than the sweet type. The unripe fruit is translucent, green and firm whereas the ripened one is amber, yellow, and juicy.

In culinary, star fruit is used for jams and jellies. The star fruit can be pickled, blended into a smoothie, added in fruit salad and used as a garnish in drinks.

A ripe star fruit will be firm to the touch, have a bright yellow color, and may have slightly browned edges. Occasional patches of green are okay, but if a star fruit is mostly green in color, it means it's not ripe.

Carambola is known by many names across its regions of cultivation, including kh? in Vietnam, balimbing in the Philippines, "belimbing" in Indonesia and Malaysia, ma fen in China, kamaranga in India, and carambolo or "carambola" in Spanish-speaking countries, as examples.

In Kenya, it is planted at the coast where it tolerates rocky soils derived from coral. It grows around Lake Victoria in Uganda. Here are native dialects names for the star fruit: Digo: M'birimbi; Giriama: Mbirimbi; English: Bilimbi, Cucumber tree; Sanya: Mbirimbi; Swahili: Mbirimbi.

It is an excellent source of healthy plant compounds, including quercetin, gallic acid, and epicatechin.

Health benefits include;

  • Rich in antioxidants like gallic acid and quercetin, help protect against free radicals.
  • Has good amount of vitamin C that help in boosting immunity, prevent iron deficiency and cure common cold. Vitamin C also assists with collagen synthesis, a protein that keeps skin, hair, and nails healthy and strong.
  • Has vitamin B9 helps in protecting the body from the risk of heart disease.
  • The plant compounds in star fruit have been shown to reduce fatty liver risk and cholesterol in mice.
  • Star fruit contains insoluble dietary fiber, which adds bulk to the digestive system and helps keep us regular. Dietary fiber prevents the absorption of LDL Cholesterol in the intestinal lining, reducing the risk of coronary heart disease and obesity.

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