Star fruit (Averrhoa carambola) and star apple (Chrysophyllum cainito) are both tropical fruits, but they are quite distinct from each other in terms of appearance, taste, texture, and botanical characteristics. Here’s a comparison of the two:
Star Fruit (Averrhoa carambola):
- Appearance: Star fruit is a small, waxy, yellow-green fruit that is oblong in shape. When cut crosswise, the slices are star-shaped, which gives the fruit its common name.
- Taste and Texture: Star fruit is crisp and juicy, with a taste that ranges from tangy to sweet, somewhat reminiscent of a mix of apple, pear, and citrus. The entire fruit, including its thin skin, is edible.
- Origin: Native to Southeast Asia, it’s now grown in various tropical regions around the world.
- Nutrition: Star fruit is a good source of vitamin C, potassium, and dietary fiber. It also contains antioxidants.
- Cautions: People with kidney problems or those on certain medications should avoid star fruit or consult their physician before consuming it, as it contains oxalates and can have adverse interactions.
Star Apple (Chrysophyllum cainito):
- Appearance: Star apple is a round fruit, typically with a smooth, shiny skin that can be green or purple depending on the variety. When cut horizontally, the arrangement of the seeds creates a star-like pattern.
- Taste and Texture: The pulp of the star apple is soft, creamy, and jelly-like. Its taste is sweet, somewhat similar to a lychee or persimmon.
- Origin: Native to the Caribbean, Central America, and parts of South America, it’s cultivated in various tropical regions.
- Nutrition: Star apple is a source of calcium, vitamin C, and dietary fiber. It also has antioxidants.
- Consumption: Typically, only the soft pulp is eaten. The skin and seeds are usually discarded.
- Shape and Appearance: Star fruit is star-shaped when sliced, while star apple has a star pattern due to its seeds when cut horizontally.
- Taste: Star fruit can be tangy to sweet, whereas star apple is predominantly sweet.
- Texture: Star fruit is crisp, while star apple has a soft, creamy texture.
- Origin: They come from different regions, with star fruit being native to Southeast Asia and star apple native to the Caribbean and Central America.
In summary, while both fruits share the term “star” in their common names, they are distinctly different in terms of taste, appearance, and origin. Both, however, are delicious tropical treats worth trying if you get the opportunity.