What you call them may vary — shall we just call it the good stuff?
First fruits on a young tree
Photos by Eric Jackson
Yes, we know that North America’s apple farmers would throw a litigious fit were these tasty fruit, “star apples” in Zonian English, Averrhoa carambola according to its scientific name, called any sort of apple. Moreover the caimito — an unrelated and not very similar fruit we also have in Panama — is also sometimes called a star apple. In North America they get marketed as “star fruit” and around a Panamanian fruit market if you ask for a carambola, estrella or “fruta china” they will figure out what you mean. (Isn’t it so very typical that to Panamanians almost anything exotic is Chinese? These things are thought to be originally from the islands off of South or Southeast Asia, the Philippines and Sri Lanka most frequently mentioned, but their cultivation all across tropical and subtropical Asia is ancient.) They are in fact not apples, but you can actually get a good result adapting an apple pie recipe using these sliced but not peeled and taking into account that they have a bit more liquid than apples.