A good ripe carambola is pleasantly tart, very juicy, slightly crisp, and absolutely beautiful when sliced crosswise as you can see below. Aside from eating them out of hand, they make great juice (usually sweetened with a little sugar), wonderful jam and preserves, and a nice dried product that retains the tart character of the fruit. Carambolas are also excellent in stirfries and rice dishes as well as both fruit and vegetable salads, adding colour, character and their happy star shape everywhere they go.
Pineapples are another favorite of mine. Unlike the starfruit, these came from the market in town, as our 2 acres only ripen in June. They had been grown in another district a couple hours away, where, thanks to some microclimatic quirk, pineapples are available in December. Although the quality of pineapples in the US market has improved in the past decade or so, I have yet to find one state-side that could compete with these beauties. A perfectly ripe pineapple is like a perfect strawberry-one can smell their delicious fragrance from over 15 feet away. Needless to say, these babies got gobbled up within 24 hours of their arrival in our kitchen.
Apple bananas! I mentioned these in a previous post, and true to my word I ate plenty of them during my stay. These bananas are not usually cooked (we have other kinds that we use for baking and frying), but are excellent out of hand. You will never find them in the USA as they have very thin skins and tend to drop off of the bunch when they ripen (we usually tie a mesh bag around the bunch when it reaches this stage so as not to lose any on our dirt floor).
For some reason I didn't take any photos of the excellent tangerines and oranges that we stuffed ourselves with during my visit, nor did I get around to photographing the enormous papaya (around 10 pounds) that we purchased in town along with the pineapples. Even the soursops that we picked from the tree by the cookhouse doorway didn't get their moment of fame. But I can assure you that they were all beautiful and delicious-even more so because most of them were free for the picking on our farm.