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Tuesday, April 24, 2018

CARAMBOLA AND NUUTRITION FACTS

STARFRUIT or CARAMBOLA or in Malaysia known as BELIMBING are one of the most nutritious tropical fruits. Star fruit, also known as carambola, is a star-shaped tropical fruit with sweet and sour flavor. Department of Agriculture Malaysia reported about 1,350 hectar of carambola grown in 2016 producing more than 24,200 metric tonnes for domestic and export markets. From my observation at Selangor and Johore (the most planted area) the are 3 most popular  Carambola varieties grown in Malaysia are B10, B17 and B2. Carambola is native to the Malayan peninsula or Malaysia and cultivated in many parts of Southeast Asia, Pacific Islands and China for its fruits. Although abundant and plentiful the carambola fruit trees is yet to gain popularity, especially in the western world eaten as salad. In Malaysia full ripen fruit are very sweet and eat as fresh fruits. From my expertise about carambola or dtarfruits, the scientific name: of this fruit are Averrhoa carambola. The genus Averrhoa includes two well-known sorrels (Oxalidaceae) family of fruiting trees as carambola and the smaller variety are known as BELIMBING BULUH aor Averrhoa bilimbi (also knownas tree cucumber). The fruit is recognized as 'Belimbing Manis' or 'Belimbing Besi' in Malaysia and in many South East Asian regions and 'Kamrakh' in India. As an sxperts train many local and international scientists, I manage to vosot to more than 50 starfruit farms throughout Malaysia. Most of the starfruit farm ain Malaysia re certified with Good Agriculture Practices Scheme known as MyGap and others with MyOrganic. MyGAP certification able to produce high qualitu starfruit for export to Europe. This morning article in "Anim Agriculture Technology" I share my experties about the nutrition facts and the importance of starfruit.

Star fruit is a small but looks bushy evergreen tree that grows very well under hot, humid at the tropical conditions. The plant bears small lilac colored, bell-shaped flowers in clusters which subsequently develop into oblong shaped fruits with characteristic five angled edges (sides or ribs) that appear like a starfish in cross sections. Both sweet and sour varieties begin to yield under cultivable orchards, and ready for harvesting when the plants reach about 3 - 4 years old. Carambola fruit features light-green to yellow with attractive smooth waxy surface and weighs about 70-130g. Inside, it's crispy, and juicy pulp can either be mildly sweet or extremely sour depending upon the cultivar type and amount of oxalic acid concentration. In some seed varieties, 2-5 tiny edible seeds found at the center of each angled cavity. Depending on the target markets, starfruit are harvested at index 3 - 4 for Europe Market and 5-6 for domestic markets. Currently the price for export market to Europe range from RM35.00 - RM45.00 per packk of 5 kg per pack. The ripe starfruit normally priced ata RM2.50 - RM4.00 per kilogram.

In further discussion, I would like to share about health benefits of star fruit. Star fruit is one of the very low-calorie exotic fruits. 100 g fruit just provides 31 calories, which is much lower than for any other popular tropical fruits. Nonetheless, it has an impressive list of essential nutrients, antioxidants, and vitamins required for well-being. The fruit along with its waxy peel provides a good amount of dietary fiber. Fiber helps prevent absorption of dietary LDL-cholesterol in the gut. The dietary fibers also help protect the mucous membrane of the colon from exposure to toxic substances by binding to cancer-causing chemicals in the colon. Star fruit contains good quantities of vitamin-C. Vitamin-C is a powerful natural antioxidant. 100 g of fresh fruit provides 34.7 mg or 57% of daily required levels of vitamin-C. In general, consumption of fruits rich in vitamin-C helps the human body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful, pro-inflammatory free radicals from the body. Star fruit is rich in antioxidant phytonutrient polyphenolic flavonoids. Some of the important flavonoids present are quercetin, epicatechin, and gallic acid. Total polyphenol contents (Folin assay) in this fruit is 143 mg/100 g. Altogether, these compounds help protect from deleterious effects of oxygen-derived free radicals by warding them off the body. Besides, it is a good source of B-complex vitamins such as folates, riboflavin, and pyridoxine (vitamin B-6). Together, these vitamins help as co-factors for enzymes in metabolism as well as in various synthetic functions inside the body. It also carries a small amount of minerals and electrolytes like potassium, phosphorus, and zinc and iron. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure; thus, it counters bad influences of sodium. For medicinal uses the starfruit and its juice are often recommended in many folk medicines in Brazil as a diuretic (to increase urine output), expectorant, and to suppress a cough.  I like to eat fresh starfruit upon plucking from the tree. Thanks.
By,
M Anem,
Senior Agronomists,
Carambola Commercial Farms,
Triang, Pahang,
Malaysia.
(5 April 2017)

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