I live in Florida. And it’s September. And together, that means Star Fruits. – Not a few, here and there. No, it means loads of them, over and over again.
So we eat Carambola – as this star shaped, deep golden colored fruit also is called -, whole, just as one would eat an apple or pear. We slice it up and let the lovely little stars infuse our water. We cut it into slices, dehydrate it and nibble on star shaped chips. We juice it. We cook it (with the aid of lots of pectin!) into jam. We chop it and make it into salsas and chutneys. We decorate salads or crudité platters with the yellow stars.
And, because even after all of the above there usually still are way too many Carambolas around – I pickle them. I have experimented with different brines and solid partners, and by now stick to red onions as a perfect companion to the Star Fruit, and a simple apple cider vinegar liquid. Pickling Carambola is quick and easy, so I recommend to make the little extra time to take out the seeds. It is not a huge effort, and the result is a very pleasant eating experience.
Pickled Star Fruit are most probably not part of any cook book recipe – and therefore mobilize one’s creative juices. They can be added to savory sandwiches or be part of a big mixed salad. They have turned out to be the just perfect companions to specific cheeses. They marry merrily with all kinds of fatty meats and charcuterie (Foie Gras, anybody? Rillettes, Pâtés?). They make baked fish very happy, and simple rice dishes right out fancy – especially when there are some warm spices involved (think curry, turmeric, cumin, coriander, etc.).
Not to mention that they taste fruity and sweet and tart and summery just plain out of the jar. – So, being star stuck isn’t a bad thing after all.
Pickled Star Fruit with Red Onion
(makes 4 half pint jars)
- 16-20 pce Star Fruit
- 2 tbsp kosher salt
- 1 large red onion
- 16 ounces apple cider vinegar
- 16 ounces water
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 4 pce half pint clean canning jars with never used lids and bands
Wash Star Fruits. Cut off the edges of the five pointed parts. Cut into 1/6 inch thick slices. Remove all seeds.
Put slices into a very large bowl, fill up with cold water and add the salt. Stir with a wooden spoon and let rest half a day.
In a colander, drain Star Fruit and rinse throughly.
Peel onion, cut into halves and then into about 1/6 inch thick slices. Mix with the Star Fruits.
Add apple cider vinegar, water and sugar into a sauce pan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, fill Star Fruit-Onion mix into the jars, leaving 1 inch tall empty from the top.
Fill half of a large sauce pan with water. Put on lid and bring to a boil. (This is the liquid in which the pickles will be sterilized later.)
Divide brining liquid between the jars, making sure all fruit and onion is covered, yet leaving a little space between the liquid and the top. If there is not enough liquid, fill jars up with more vinegar. Put the lids on.
Transfer the jars into the boiling water and cook in the bubbling water for 10 minutes. Remove from the water, dry and let cool. Store the pickles in a dark place at least one week before enjoying them. – Have fun coming up with many new recipes!