To put it simply, a star fruit is ripe if the outside of the fruit has taken on a wax-like texture that is shiny and yellow.
On top of that, the pulp inside the star fruit has a yellow appearance, and the edges of the stars on the outside are starting to brown.
When it comes to picking out your fruit, spotting whether it’s ripe or not can be difficult.
It’s extra difficult, though, when it comes to fruits that we don’t encounter often.
“Star Fruit” is one of those fruits! Star fruit is a delicious and unique type of fruit, but one that can be very hard to find unless you live in a tropical location.
As a result, it can be difficult to work out when it’s ripe or not. So when is star fruit ripe?
Our handy article below will tell you exactly how to tell when star fruit is ripe and how you can pick the ripest one.
When Is Star Fruit Ripe?
If you’re lucky enough to get your hands on a star fruit, you will want it to be perfectly ripe before you eat it.
Star fruit, or “carambola” as it’s also known, has a delicious blend of sweetness and sourness that you’ll want to enjoy at peak ripeness.
As a result, you need to look for the signs.
For one thing, a star fruit should be ripe when its outside texture has changed. It will begin to feel wax-like, and it should take on a shiny and yellow appearance.
This is a stark contrast to the fruit when it’s raw, where it will look green and lush.
On top of that, have a look at the tips and edges of the five points of the fruit’s star shape.
If they are going brown on their edges, then it’s a sign that the fruit is ripe. Don’t let it go too brown though!
Finally, have a look at the inside of the star fruit.
If you can see that its pulp has taken on a yellow appearance, much like the outside of the fruit itself, then it’s a sign that it should be ripe and ready to eat.
The Star Fruit’s Various Stages Of Ripeness
However, like with other fruits, a star fruit can go through many different stages of being ripe.
All of these are edible, but some people like certain stages more than others and might wait until it gets to their preferred state.
Ripeness Stage One
The first stage of the star fruit being ripe is, understandably, not going to be clear.
Since it has only just become ripe, the star fruit may still share some characteristics with its raw self.
Most notably, the star fruit is not yellow yet. Instead, it’s still bright green, which is the same color that it has when it’s raw.
This is because the fruit has just matured and is progressing towards being riper and riper.
On top of that, the fruit should have a juicy and crisp texture to it, since it is so fresh and new. It will also taste tart, being sharp and acid-like.
The pulp of the star fruit will be ripe at this first stage.
Ripeness Stage Two
If you leave the star fruit out on a counter for a couple days, then it will advance towards this second stage of ripeness.
You can help it continue to ripen by turning the fruit over every 12 hours.
Once you’re happy with ripeness, put it in the fridge for up to a week and enjoy.
Visually, this stage is a lot clearer and is distinctly different to the first stage.
For one thing, the skin of the star fruit should have turned yellow by now. It will no longer be green, but instead a faded and light yellow.
On top of that, the edges of the five star-points should begin to turn brown.
Ripeness Stage Three
This is the final stage of ripeness for a star fruit. It’s where it has become over-ripened, but has not started to go off yet.
Some people like it at this stage and leave their star fruit to reach it.
As for the appearance of the star fruit, it is drastically different. By this point, it should be fully yellow, without a hint of fade to it.
On top of that, the edges of the fruit may have started to shrivel and the skin of it all has wrinkled.
If you feel it, you will notice that its texture is very soft and mushy, almost like when the fruit has gone off.
At this point, it can be difficult to tell whether the star fruit is still ripe or has actually passed into going off..
Be careful when the fruit is over-ripened and make sure you don’t leave it any longer.
How Can You Store A Ripe Star Fruit?
Now that we’ve looked at all the different stages of ripeness that a star fruit can go through before it goes off, it’s worth looking at how you can store it properly.
Proper storage of a ripe star fruit will help delay it going off, allowing you to enjoy the fruit for longer.
Strictly speaking, a fully ripened star fruit is best to be consumed as soon as it’s at that stage, rather than storing it away for later.
Star fruit perishes very quickly once it has been harvested, so be careful.
However, if you want to store your star fruit and extend its ripeness for a little bit, then you can.
If you leave a star fruit out on the counter at room temperature, then it will last for about 2 or 3 days.
In The Fridge
On the other hand, it’s a good idea to put your star fruit in the fridge.
You can do this by leaving it unwashed and putting it in a sealed plastic bag, then putting the bag in the fridge.
In the fridge it should last for up to a week, allowing you to enjoy it for longer. Once you do eat it, make sure to wash it.
In The Freezer
Star fruit can also be frozen for longer use, but you need to de-seed it, wash it, and turn it into star fruit puree with a blender first.
After that, you can pour it into an ice cube tray, which will then give you cubes of frozen star fruit later on!
How To Harvest A Ripe Star Fruit
Now that you know how to identify the various stages of ripeness on a star fruit, as well as how to store the fruit for later, it’s worth knowing how to harvest it at the right time.
Not everyone will have a carambola tree near them, but if you’re lucky enough to then it’s worth harvesting its star fruits.
Identifying The Ripeness
Thankfully, identifying the perfect harvesting time will actually use your ripeness-identifying skills.
Why? Well, a star fruit falls off the tree when it’s fully ripened.
Although this may seem helpful, the fall could actually damage the fruit, so you don’t want it to quite get to that stage.
As a result, you’ll have to study the star fruits on the tree and identify when they’re just about fully ripe. You can do this by looking at them each day for the signs.
A ripe star fruit should be fully yellow, although some tips and corned are still expected to be green.
The fruit will have a wax-like appearance with all this yellow.
If you leave it too long, the fruit will turn a darker yellow, and it will fall off the tree.
In order to harvest the star fruit yourself, simply pull it from the tree. If it’s around full ripeness, then it will easily detach without any effort at all.
In terms of the time of year, the best times to harvest star fruit from the carambola tree is during the autumn and winter months.
Similarly, the best time of day to harvest star fruits is in the morning, because the temperature is cool.
How To Buy A Ripe Star Fruit
On the other hand, if you can’t harvest star fruit yourself, you will want to buy it.
In order to buy a star fruit when it’s ripe, study it for the usual signs. The fruit should be yellow, with only hints of green on the corners.
On top of that, some edges might be brown.
It’s best to buy the star fruit when it’s still got green on it, rather than let it become fully yellow, because you will want to leave it room to ripen more after you’ve bought it.
If it’s over-ripened, you’ll see lots of brown spots.
Star fruit is such a delicious and unique variety of fruit that it’s well worth eating. When you find some, use our guide to make sure they’re ripe!
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