In the wild, carambola is found in the forests of Indonesia. The Maluku Islands are considered her homeland. Carambola cultivars are bred in India, Sri Lanka, South China, Indonesia, Vietnam, and the Philippines. Acclimatized in Brazil, Ghana, French Polynesia, USA (Florida, Hawaii), Israel.
Carambola (Averrhoa carom) Is an evergreen tree, a species of the genus Averroa (Averrhoa) of the acid family (Oxalidaceae).
Carambola fruits (Averrhoa carambola). Farmer Burea-Uinsurance.com mani276
Description of carambola
Carambola belongs to the family of oxalis, sorrel. In nature, this is an evergreen, slow-growing tree 5 m high with drooping branches and a dense, highly branched rounded crown or shrub.
The leaves of carambola are pinnately complex, acacia-shaped, arranged in a spiral. They consist of 5-11 opposite, oval-pointed, simple leaves. The leaves are soft, dark green, smooth above and covered with whitish pubescence below. The leaves are light sensitive and gather together at night.
Carambola flowers are small pink or purple-red.
Unlike most tropical plants, carambola does not need too much light, so it can be easily grown at home.
Carambola fruits are fleshy, crispy and juicy, with massive ribbed growths, ranging in size from a chicken egg to a large orange. Ripe fruits are amber-yellow or golden-yellow in color. They are unusual in shape – they look like a ribbed airship. On the cross section there is a five-pointed star, hence one of the names in English – star fruit, that is, a star fruit, a star fruit, another name is tropical stars. The peel of carambola is edible.
The pulp is juicy, slightly spicy. There are two types of fruits: sweet and sour and sweet. The taste of some fruits resembles the taste of plums, apples and grapes at the same time, others – of a gooseberry with a plum scent. In the tropics, carambola with sour fruits is more appreciated.
Carambola seeds are ovoid, flattened, light brown, up to 1,2 cm in length.
Useful properties of carambola
The fruits of the plant contain organic acids (mainly oxalic), calcium, phosphorus, iron, sodium, potassium. The vitamin complex of carambola is represented by vitamin C, beta-carotene, vitamins B1, B2, B5. Little is known about the medicinal properties of carambola. In Asian folk medicine, its leaves and flowers are used for medicinal purposes.
The presence of a large amount of oxalic acid in sour carambola varieties requires caution when eating them with enterocolitis, gastritis, gastric ulcer and duodenal ulcer in the acute stage. The consumption of acidic fruits in large quantities can lead to disruption of salt metabolism in the body and the development of renal pathology.
Using carambola for food
How to choose carambola when buying?
When buying tender carambola fruits, check the degree of their ripeness. Choose undamaged, fairly firm fruit. Skin color can be very diverse: from yellow-green to apricot. Ripe fruits can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. In room conditions, the fruits ripen.
How to eat carambola?
Green fruits of carambola are used as a vegetable, they are salted and pickled. Ripe fruits are eaten fresh and have a refreshing taste. They are served for dessert. The fruits do not need to be peeled, just cut into slices. They are also suitable for making fruit cocktails, salads, juices, jam, sauces. Carambola juice quenches thirst. Fruits cut into star-shaped circles are a great addition to various salads, desserts, ice cream, etc. Even the sour-tasting carambola flowers are used; in Southeast Asia, they are added to salads.
The use of carambola in everyday life
The sour fruit juice of carambola, which contains oxalic acid, removes stains from clothes. Copper and brass products are polished with fruit pulp.
Reproduction of carambola at home
At home, plants are propagated by freshly harvested seeds, layering and grafting. For planting, ripe freshly cut seeds are used, since they quickly lose their germination. The seeds are germinated in a warm place in moist peat or moss. In summer, seedlings appear within a week, in winter (preferably in February) – after 2-3 weeks. Sprouted seeds are planted in micro greenhouses with light soil. And they are kept in a well-lit place.
The grown carambola seedlings are planted in 9-centimeter pots, creating good drainage in them. For a grown plant, universal soil and vermiculite are used in equal parts. Young plants are replanted annually. For successful cultivation, it is necessary to maintain high humidity, moderate regular watering, and provide good illumination.
Features of caring for carambola at home
The carambola begins to bloom and bear fruit at 3-4 years. Most varieties are monoecious, that is, male and female flowers are formed on the same plant. There are varieties both self-pollinated and those requiring pollination. Fruits usually ripen in September-October, although the plant can bloom several times a year.
Carambola leaves are collected at night. If the leaves are curled up during the day, this means that the plant has suffered shock or is in unfavorable conditions.
Carambola rarely needs pruning.
You need to feed carambola 3-4 times a year with full mineral fertilizer and microelements. With a lack of iron, zinc, manganese, chlorosis is observed in the plant.
Some sources claim that the plant is still light-requiring. He needs a bright light, a sunny place.
Watering should be moderate, but regular throughout the year, and the soil should not dry out. Carambola does not tolerate stagnant water, for which it is necessary to provide good drainage in the pot.
Since it is a tropical plant, it needs high air humidity. It is necessary to regularly spray and wash the leaves. With insufficient air and soil moisture, carambola almost completely sheds its leaves.
The soil should be slightly acidic. With an alkaline reaction of the soil, chlorosis occurs.
In winter, the plant is kept in bright rooms with a temperature of at least 16 degrees. Reduce watering somewhat, but do not allow the soil to dry out.
Pests and diseases of carambola
The carambola is quite resistant to pests and diseases, it can be affected by a kidney nematode, a fruit fly, as well as fungal diseases (anthracnose, phyllosticosis).