A derogatory slur for Filipino politicians who switch colors to save their careers, Balimbing has better purpose than just being an awkward label for fools. The fruit itself, Balimbing or Carambola or Starfruit is one of the best sources of anti-cancer antioxidants and vitamin C just like the lowly Calamansi and the underrated Pakwan or Watermelon.
The Starfruit when ripe are tart and sour with a fruity odor similar to calamansi, the Balimbing also has the texture and consistency of grapes when eaten. The sour fruits taste like green apples. They are best picked off the tree when they ripen, check for when the skin turns from green to yellowish, and you may ripen slightly green fruits at room temperature in a clean and dry place.
Pinay06 on Wikipedia Creative Commons 3.0 BALIMBING ripening on TREE
We Filipinos love to eat unripe Balimbing with some rock salt dip like Santol. The Thais love to cook them with shrimp in spicy stews as with all of their hot and sour hearty meals. You can also make really refreshing juice from Balimbing fruit if you love the sour taste of calamansi, lemon and grapefruit juices.
Starfruit Juice! How to...
Pick the best looking fruits. Bruised fruits taste bad.
Use a cheese cloth to strain juice mechanically or put in a fruit juicer or fruit processor.
You may consume as is or add real sugar until the sweetness compares to ripe grapes.
For shelf stable storage, pasteurize at 75 degrees for 15 minutes to kill any pathogens that might spoil the fruit.
Store in sterile bottles and seal well for later consumption.
The juice is great as a tonic or cleansing drink for removing toxins from your system with powerful antioxidants and vitamin C. With no sugar it is less acidic and may be metabolized as an alkaline fix when in your system. The juice can be used as a natural sweetener for coffee too.
Balimbing is rich in antioxidants, potassium, and vitamin C; and low in sugar, sodium, and acid. It is also a potent source of both primary and secondary polyphenolic antioxidants. Balimbing also has unique antimicrobial properties that can kill nasty germs like E. coli, Klebsiella spp., Staphylococcus aureus, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
The oxalic acid content of Balimbing can be harmful to individuals suffering from kidney problems. Side effects include produce hiccups, vomiting, nausea, and mental confusion. Fatal outcomes have been documented in some patients. Another compound, caramboxin, a phytochemical similar to phenylalanine, might be responsible for harmful effects if you're kidneys are not working properly. So you must consume fruit juices in moderation too as with all chemical liquids so your kidney can flush out wastes normally and not be overworked.
Plant a Balimbing Tree in Your Garden
The Balimbing is a tropical tree and can grow up to a height of a thousand meters tall if it grows well. The Starfruit or Carambola also grows best in full sun environments but requires enough humidity and good rain of up to 70 inches or more a year to sustain growth. Plant in an area with good drainage. The trees bear fruit at four to five years of age and can produce up to 91 to 181kgs. of fruit a year, from April to June or from October to December.