Starfruit you wonder? Yes! You can grow starfruit in the Southwest, although it is not native to the area. Watermelons aren’t native either, and yet the Native peoples embraced growing this luscious fruit and have developed a number of cultivars found no where else on earth.
So, while many of our posts feature Southwest wild harvested or home grown products, every so often we offer products that many of our readers may have to forage from Southwest supermarkets, or from their yard.
Starfruit (Averrhoa carambola) is a short tree in the Oxalis (wood sorrel or shamrock) family. It is named for its prolific five pointed star shaped fruits. The fruit is loaded with antioxidants and flavanoids and only has around thirty calories per fruit. They have a wonderful crisp texture and lightly sweet flavor with a thin, edible skin.
In its native region of tropical Southeast Asia starfruit trees grow only twenty to thirty feet tall (nice and short so it’s easy to harvest) and one tree has been known to feed an entire small village. I, Monica King, have seen such splendorous trees in Tucson and Phoenix, though they tend to need more loving care in our hot dry climate, extra mulching and protection from frost is a must.
For those that love experimenting with container trees there are also dwarf varieties available, such as Dwarf Maher that fruits at less than two feet tall and can be maintained at three feet. It is considered one of the best varieties for patios and was even fruitful in a New England summer! In New England the plant is kept indoors until summer when it is taken outside into the warm sun for pollination.
Speaking of pollination, the bees absolutely love the clusters of lilac colored flowers. Blooming several times a year, fruiting in Summer, Fall, and Winter in milder climates. It will bloom and have fruit at the same time.
Honey Glazed Grilled Starfruit Chicken
1 cup pureed starfruit (about 2 fruits)
1 cup orange juice
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
3 teaspoons diced fresh oregano (1 teaspoon dried)
1 large onion, finely minced
10 pieces chicken – or a whole one divided for ease of grilling.
1 /4 cup honey for basting
Blend the onion, starfruit, orange, lemon, lime, and oregano.
Hold back 1 /4 cup of this fruit blend. Pour the rest over the chicken and refrigerate for up to three hours in advance. This marinade rich in citrus juices will help tenderize the chicken.
Mix the quarter cup of juice with a quarter cup of honey. This will be used to baste the chicken while you are grilling it.
Up to half an hour before grilling, remove the chicken from the refrigerator. Meat closer to room temperature is less shocked by the heat of the grill and remains more tender.
Preheat grill, rubbing grates with an oily cloth before it gets too hot.
Cook chicken until juices run clear (this is longer for chicken with bones still in, less time for boneless cuts.)
During the final few minutes of grilling start basting the chicken lightly with the honey blend for a crisp glaze. Do not start basting too soon as the honey will tend to char.
Rest the chicken for five minutes or so before serving.
Article by Monica King and with grilling advice from Uncle Smokey. Cover image is chicken prepared by Monica, served with a side of steamed okra (a summer grower that is related to cotton.)
Please sign up for our free weekly email newsletter!
We will send you our latest cooking guide – it changes with the seasons. Once you sign up you will always be sent each new one as it is created. We value privacy and never share your data
What do you think?!
Please leave your comments and ideas in the “reply” comment section below.
More cooking and using Southwestern products in Using Honey in New & Savory Ways (Tierra del Sol Institute Press). Only $7! . This link is to Amazon and if you buy the book there the Horticulture Therapy non-profit Tierra del Sol Institute will get a few pennies at no additional cost to you.
© Article copyright SavortheSW. All rights reserved. You must ask permission to republish an entire blog post or article. Okay to use a short excerpt but you must give proper credit. You must include a link back to the original post on our site. No stealing photos.
Follow us on Facebook