What do we know about the carambola?

CarambolaThe carambola is an oval to elliptical fruit with a thin, shiny, waxy surface and agreenish yellow skin. Its length ranges from 2 to 6 inches with four to six prominent vertical lobes (cells) that result in star-shaped slices when cut crosswise. The flesh is light to dark yellow, crunchy, juicy, and translucent. The flavor resembles a blend of the flavors of many fruits. Up to 12 small, thin, edible seeds are contained in each fruit, enclosed by a thin gelatinous pocket.The carambola has been cultivated in southeast Asia for many centuries and is thought to have originated in what is now Sri Lanka or in Malaysia. The carambola was introduced into Florida around 1887, and later Hawaii. Currently, the major suppliers worldwide include Taiwan, Malaysia, Guyana, India, the Philippines,Australia, and Israel. The carambola tree is a slow-growing, short evergreen (25 to 30 feet high and 20 to 25 feet wide) that can be single-trunked or multitrunked. Carambola leaves are compound structures composed of smaller ovoid to oblong leaflets. The leaves are spirally arranged on the branch and are sensitive to light and sudden movements (they fold up during the night or when the tree is abruptly shaken). Although classified as a subtropical plant, the tree can tolerate short periods of frost with little damage. If picked before ripening, green carambola fruit eventually turns yellow. However, the fruit is sweetest if allowed to ripen on the tree.Carambolas are high in vitamin C and are a good source of vitamin A (betacarotene). The fruit is also a good source of dietary fiber.