On October 19th I took my first trip to the St. Lawrence Market in years. I can vaguely remember going there way back when I was just a child but I hadn’t been back since. I chose to go to the market because so many people I know rave about the produce and fresh meat and dairy products that are available there. It also happens to be extremely close to George Brown College and my apartment which is definitely an added bonus.
I browsed throughout the different fruit and veggie markets and came across actually quite a few products that I have never tried before; Persimmon, granadilla, etc. Or, if I have tried them it’s been in a restaurant or a pre-made food/drink that I have not personally prepared. I decided to purchase a starfruit as I have never bought one before and it really stood out to me. The curvature of the fruit was much more interesting than the others and the name itself intrigued me.
Starfruit is actually the common name for Carambola; It got the nickname starfruit because of the shape of it and when cut into pieces it actually resembles the shape of a star. Carambola is said to have originated in Sri Lanka and now is grown on trees in tropical locations such as; Thailand, Southeast Asia, Australia, South America, as well as a few places in the United states—Hawaii and Florida. Starfruit typically blooms in April through May and then again in October until December. I purchased my starfruit for 2 dollars at the market which to me seems a bit expensive considering you only get one fruit for the price.
The starfruit is about the size of my fist and feels hard and waxy to the touch. It has five ridges that go vertically down the fruit. The colour is a pale yellow with a light green going down each ridge, according to what I have researched I believe that my starfruit is not quite ripe yet; It should be a a golden colour with no green. The scent of the fruit reminds me of a granny smith apple — crisp and tart. When biting into the starfruit the texture reminded me of a grape and a green bean combined. Stringy and chewy on the outside and soft on the inside; It was also quite juicy. Strangely, the flavour to me also reminded me
a bit of both a green bean and a grape along with a granny smith apple. I believe that due to it not being completely ripe the fruit was a lot more tart and sour than it would be if fully ripened. My starfruit was quite tart and sour with just a hint of sweetness, it also possessed an earthy note.
Due to its sweet yet tart nature, starfruit is typically used for drinks, relishes, and desserts; However, it can also be used in savoury dishes. It can also be eaten just the way it is, all of the fruit can be consumed so you don’t need to worry about taking out seeds or anything. It is not often cooked, it is just eaten raw. I personally would like to keep the taste of the starfruit as true to itself as possible and create something sweet with it. I think a great recipe for it would be a sherbet or sorbet which would truly showcase the flavour of the fruit. I have found an extremely simple yet delicious looking recipe for Brazilian Star Fruit Sorbet (see below).
I have not tried this recipe yet, but I think that it looks extremely promising and would be a delightful treat in the summer months when this fruit is in season.
I really enjoyed this experience as it has opened up my eyes to what different foods are out there that I have yet to explore. I am not typically one to explore markets, I just tend to buy products from the closest grocery store to my home because of convenience. Due to this adventure though I will definitely be heading back to the St. Lawrence Market and possibly to other markets as well. It definitely had a more interesting variety of produce that places like Loblaws and Metro can’t offer. I would highly recommend checking out local markets near you to try new and exciting products!