I remember as a kid in primary school, we had art lessons using cut vegetables and fruits dipped in paint to make colourful prints. Art lessons in schools these days may be more high-tech, but back in the day we worked more with our hands and with common everyday things we had at home that we were told to bring to class. And it was lots of fun. In particular, I remember using cross-sections of starfruit to make star-shaped prints. I also remember thinking what a shame it was that after art class the teacher wouldn’t allow us to eat those nice colourful pieces of starfruit.
Such a shame really, because ripe starfruit is sweet, juicy, refreshing, and would have been a perfect treat on those hot school days when the classroom fans sometimes didn’t work. This versatile fruit can be easily sliced and eaten, juiced, or cut into small pieces and tossed with salads. Unripe tart-tasting starfruit can be cooked with meat, poultry and seafood dishes. Apart from an added zing in taste, visually such dishes are notched up a level of delight and appeal when served: dinner guests literally see stars!
More than being just delicious, starfruit is loaded with vitamin C – a single fruit can provide 76%DV (ie. daily value) of vitamin C. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps our bodies fight off cancer-causing free radicals, as well as boost our immune system against flu, colds, and infections. Studies have shown that diets rich in vitamin C reduce the chances of falling ill to these common maladies by as much as 50 per cent! We also need vitamin C for the production of collagen in our bones, cartilage, muscles, and blood vessels, and for improved absorption of iron, an essential mineral required in the production red blood cells.
The high dietary fibre content in starfruit helps to prevent cardiovascular diseases from developing, and stops “bad” cholesterol (ie. LDL) from being absorbed. By binding cancer-causing chemicals that pass through the body’s system, dietary fibre thus protects the colon from toxic substances and reduces the risks of colon cancer. Coupled with the fruit’s low caloric count – an average starfruit has only 30-50 calories – eating starfruit regularly can help in weight reduction and management, as well as keeping bowel movement regular and healthy.
Starfruit also contains the important B vitamin group – folates, riboflavin, and pyridoxine (B6) – which work together to aid proper and healthy functioning of our body’s various synthesising and metabolising operations. Other essential nutrients in starfruit include copper, pantothenic acid, and potassium which helps reduce the occurrence of muscle cramps by increasing blood, and therefore oxygen, circulation and delivery to muscles at work and rest.
The good thing about starfruit is that it can be purchased when still green and left on the kitchen counter to ripen. When the fruit turns yellow you know it’s ripe and ready to be enjoyed. But once brown spots start appearing on the fruit’s yellow skin, that’s the sign of over-ripeness setting in. So before that happens, put ripe starfruit in the fridge where they will keep well and stay fresh, waiting to be eaten or juiced.
Starfruit is one of the fruits that we often supply to our cruise ship clients here at Sofresh. Although each delivery is usually not big – 50 to 100kgs, compared to some items which go by the tonne – we do get orders for starfruit on a regular basis.
As for me, starfruit always brings back memories of noisy, messy, hot schooldays filled with endless dirty-hands-and-muddy-shoes fun. Those were times it seemed we had a lot less than kids do in school today, but we did a lot more: ran a bit faster, climbed a bit higher, fell a bit harder, picked ourselves up and dusted ourselves off more often, laughed a lot heartier, and had nary a care in the world as we passed our days in school one bell-ring at a time. Till the next one!