Tropical Taste of Hawaii: The Starry Star Apple

Updated on January 19, 2018
punacoast profile image

The author lives in a quiet seaside community in lower Puna on the Big Island. He's an avid gardener, traveler and photographer.

Source

Star apple (botanical name Chrysophyllum cainito) is an exotic fruit with a delightful taste that you should try when visiting Hawaii. It’s about the size of an apple and has smooth, shiny green or purple skin. Star apple is not a native fruit tree of Hawaii. Originated from Central America, it has been widely cultivated throughout tropical West Indies, Pacific and Southeast Asia. Star apple gets its name from the interesting “starburst” core pattern that can be seen when the fruit is cut in half.

Star apple is found growing in farms, gardens, parks, as well as in the wild, on all the islands of Hawaii. It is a tall fruit tree, up to 50-60 feet, and easily recognized by its unique foliage: the leaves are dark glossy green on top and golden brown on the underside.

Source
Source

Eating Star Apple

Star apple is usually eaten fresh. Cut the fruit in half and use a spoon to scoop out the white pulp around the “starburst” core. The delicate jelly-like pulp is sweet and very juicy. The Vietnamese call star apple qua vu sua (means breast milk fruit) and French Polynesians name it pomme de lait (milk apple) because of the abundance of a rich creamy juice oozing from the pulp. You can drink the juice by spooning it out, just never sip it directly from the fruit! The rind and the skin contain a sap that is astringent and will make your lips feel “sandpapery”! Also, don’t eat the hard-as-a-rock black seeds!

Star apple is best enjoyed when it has been chilled in the refrigerator. It’s absolutely delicious with yogurt or cottage cheese! You can also make a fruit salad with star apple and other tropical fruits like mango, pineapple, and papaya. In India, street vendors make a refreshing star apple lassi (smoothie) by blending the ripe fruit with yogurt and pistachio nuts. In Hawaii, people simply eat fresh star apple as a snack or dessert.

As with the mountain apple or abiu, star apple is rarely seen for sale at supermarkets in Hawaii. You have better luck finding it at farmers markets (like the Maku’u farmers market or Kalapana night market in Puna) and also try the organic fruit/vegetable section at local heath food stores.

Source
Source

Growing Star Apple

Star apple only grows in tropical or subtropical climate. It can be propagated easily from seed, but it would take 10 years or more for the young seedling to mature and produce fruits. Grafted trees from local nursery or air-layered cuttings are better option, as they may bear fruits 1-2 years after planting in the ground. Star apple is known to be a prolific fruit bearer, a single tree can produce hundreds of fruit in one season (March to June).

Star apple has small, pretty pale yellow flowers. However, they have a strong unpleasant smell, especially at night - probably to attract certain type of pollinators. When unripe, the fruits are bright green in color, when ripe they become slightly purple and soft to the touch. There’s another variety of star apple in Hawaii that both the skin and the pulp turn brilliant deep purple when ripe.

If not harvested, the fruits will remain on the tree and eventually dry up into hard little black balls. However, when it’s windy, some over ripen fruits may drop and they make a terrible mushy mess on the ground! In Hawaii, birds and rats love star apples, they will devour the fruits on the tree faster than you could pick!

Purple variety of star apple
Purple variety of star apple | Source
Star apple flowers
Star apple flowers | Source
Source

About this Article

The author has a big star apple tree in his front yard. He often climbs on the ladder - or sometime leans precariously out the third floor’s bedroom window - to pick the fruits!

All photos were taken with a Samsung Digimax 301 3.2MP Digital Camera.

Questions & Answers

  • Can I order starfruit from Hawaii?

    No, you cannot order this fruit from Hawaii.

© 2012 Viet Doan

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • punacoast profile imageAUTHOR

      Viet Doan 

      2 months ago from Big Island, Hawaii

      Thank you Trang Hua for your comments. So glad the article brought back memory of star apples for you! If you visit Hawaii in May-June, you will see them for sale at many farmers markets around the islands. Aloha!

    • profile image

      Trang Hua 

      2 months ago

      I love this fruit so much and have had them for almost 30 years. Miss them so much. When will be the season for this fruit in Hawaii?

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      3 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      I would love to try this, too. I bet you, it will be heavenly.

    • punacoast profile imageAUTHOR

      Viet Doan 

      4 months ago from Big Island, Hawaii

      I have a friend who lives in India told me that star apple smoothie is very popular in India! She said to blend the custard-like flesh of this fruit with a handful of pistachios and add a dash of nutmeg. It sounds so exotic and delicious! I haven't tried it yet, may be next time when my tree is fruiting.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      4 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      I love star apple so much. I like eating it as a fruit with nothing else. It is already sweet and it is good to taste the fruit.

    • profile image

      Byron Reid 

      23 months ago

      My email is byronreid6@ g mail.com.I am looking for this fruit camitoor star apple fruit ,I living in the U.K. And never seen it in this country.so please email me and let me know if I could by buy the fruit from you

    • punacoast profile imageAUTHOR

      Viet Doan 

      6 years ago from Big Island, Hawaii

      Thank you sgbrown, bdegiulio, and Movie Master. So glad you enjoyed the article and I hope you'll get to taste this wonderful fruit in the near future. Come visit Hawaii soon. Aloha!

    • sgbrown profile image

      Sheila Brown 

      6 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

      I have heard of the star fruit before, but have never seen it. It sounds like it would be really good. I doubt that it would grow here in Southern Oklahoma, it gets way too dry. I will have to keep my eyes open for it in the stores. Interesting hub and great pictures. Voted up and interesting. Have a great day!

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 

      6 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi punacoast. Really interesting. I seem to recall seeing this fruit when we visited Hawaii many years ago. Have not see it in markets here in New England. Will definitely have to look for it on our next trip to Hawaii.

      Thanks for sharing and have a great day.

    • Movie Master profile image

      Movie Master 

      6 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi punacoast, the star apple is new to me, what a fabulous name and beautiful fruit when cut open.

      I am quite envious of you having a tree in your frontyard!

      Thank you for such an interesting article, voted up and shared

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, dengarden.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://dengarden.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)