The scientific name of the star apple is Chrysophyllum cainito . It is also know as Star apple, Star plum, Cainito, Caimito, Caymito, Golden leaf tree and Abiaba.
Other names include:
CHINESE: Niu nai guo.
CZECH: Zlatolis obecny.
DUTCH: Apra, Goudblad boom (Surinam), Sterappel.
FRENCH: CaimitIer, Pomme surette, Kaymit, Macoucou, Pomme de lait, Pomme étoilée.
GERMAN: Sternapfel, Sternapfelbaum.
INDONESIA: Sawo ijo, Sawo hejo, Sawo kadu.
JAPANESE: Hoshi ringo, Kaimito, Kainitto, Miruku furuutsu, Suishougaki, Sutaa appuru.
MALAYSIAN: Sawu duren, Pepulut.
PORTUGUESE: Ajara, Cainito.
RUSSIAN: Zevezdnoe iabloko, Chrizofillum.
SINGAPORIAN: Chicle durian.
SPANISH: Ablaca, Aguay, Caimitero, Caimito, Guyabillo, Olivoa, Pipa, Sapotillo.
THAI: Sataa appoen.
VIETNAMESE: C[aa]y v[us] s[uwx]a.
It is a tree with a spreading crown, growing up to a height of 15 meters. Fruit is large and rounded, 6 to 10 centimeters in diameter, shiny and smooth, purplish or light-green skin, with a translucent whitish or purplish, soft pulp surrounding flattened seeds about 1 to 1.5 centimeters long. The flesh, contains a small amount of milky juice, is somewhat fibrous, sweet, mild and pleasant tasting. Avoid eating the skin, as it’s bitter and full of unappetizing latex.
It is cultivated for its edible fruit and as an ornamental tree, It is gown in several countries including India, Sri Lanka, Zanzibar, Cuba, Vietnam, the Philippines, Benin, Nigeria, Peru, and Argentina. It is available in diverse areas like Europe, South America, Africa, the Caribbean, and Asia.
How to check ripeness of star apples?
Star apples come in three colors, the most common being a purple variety. Others, however, are green and sometimes yellow. The purple variety goes from green to purple—sometimes a green blush lingers on a soft, ripe fruit. Green varieties, however, require touching them in order to determine their ripeness—if hard, they’re unripe. If pliable and slightly rubbery, they’re ready for consumption. Yellow variants are most rare of all, but they turn from green to yellow and grow soft when ripe. Select bright, shiny fruits with no bruises or visible damage.
Star apples nutrition value
A 100 g of caimito has about 67 calories. It contains
78.4-85.7 g Moisture
0.72-2.33 g Protein
14.65 g Carbohydrate
0.55-3.3 g Fiber
0.35-0.72 g Ash
7.4-17.3 mg Calcium
15.9-22 mg Phosphorous
0.3-0.68 mg Iron
0.0004-0.039 mg Carotene
0.018-0.08 mg Thiamine
0.013-0.04 mg Riboflavin
0.935-1.34 mg Niacin
3-15.2 mg Ascorbic Acid
Medicinal properties of Star apple
The part used are seeds, leaves, bark, and fruit. Seed is tonic, diuretic and febrifuge.
Pectoral, tonic, stimulant.
Traditional benefits and uses of Star apple
• In Mexico, decoction of the bark given for dysentery.
• In Costa Rica, infusion of bark is tonic and refreshing.
• Tonic: Infusion of the bark is tonic and refreshing.
• Latex is used for abscesses.
• Dried latex used as antihelminthic.
• In some countries, the fruit is used for diabetes.
• Bitter seed sometimes used as tonic, for diarrhea and fevers.
• Fruit eaten for inflammation in laryngitis and pneumonia.
• Decoction used for angina.
• In the Ivory Coast, decoction of leaves used for hypertension. Leaf decoction also used for diabetes.
• In Venezuela, unripe fruit used for intestinal problems.
• In Puerto Rico, fruit used in treatment of diabetes.
• Decoction of bark used as tonic and stimulant; used for diarrhea, dysentery, hemorrhages and treatment of gonorrhea.
• Cubans in Miami reported to use the leaf decoction for cancer treatment.
• In Brazil, bark latex used resolutive on abscesses; and as a potent vermifuge when dried and powdered.
• Poultice of grated leaves applied to wounds. Leaf decoction used for hypoglycemia. Fruit used for treating fever and hemorrhage.
• Timber: Yields a brown and hard, but no durable wood. Used for indoor construction: planking, light framing, interior trim, shelving, panelling, etc.
• Dye: Bark yields tannin and dyestuff.
Scientific proven health benefits of Star apple/ Star plum
• Polyphenolic Antioxidants / Fruits
Study on various fruit extracts yielded nine known phenolic antioxidants. The ethyl acetate soluble fraction displayed the highest antioxidant activity, and of the compounds, compound 5 (quercetin) showed the highest antioxidant activity.
Including quercetin, quercitrin, isoquercitin, myricitrin, catechin, and gallic acid. Some of these antioxidants, such as quercetin, have well-known health benefits including being anti-cancerous, anti-asthma, and a regulator of metabolism.
• Vasorelaxant (Reduction in tension of the blood vessel walls)
A preliminary study on the relaxant effect of the crude extract and fractions of the bark of Chrysophyllum cainito L. in isolated rat thoracic aorta: Methanolic bark extract study on rats showed vasorelaxant activity on the smooth muscle.
• Antidiabetic Activity / Leaves
Study of the aqueous decoction of C cainito leaves showed hypoglycemic activity at doses of ≥ 20 g/l. From 30 g/l, the plant would exert a toxic effect. The hypoglycemic effect was mainly attributed to alkaloids, sterols, or triterpenes.
• Hypotensive Effect (lowers blood pressure)
Phytochemical study attributes the hypotensive effect flavonoids with vasodilation effect and inhibition of adrenergic receptors.
• Anti-Inflammatory / Anti-Hypersensitivity Effects / Leaves
Study of crude methanolic extract of leaves demonstrated anti-inflammatory and anti-hypersensitivity effects on carrageenan-induced paw edema and hypersensitivity. Reduction of hypersensitivity attributed to isolated compound Lup-20(29)-en-3β-O-hexanoate > than 3β-Lup-20(29)-en-3-yl acetate. It could be effectively used in the management of persistent inflammatory and neuropathic pain in humans.
How to eat or cut star apples?
Fruit eaten ripe, with a sweet and flavorful pulp. Eat star apple like a persimmon: wait until the fruit is soft, and then press gently along the sides. Next, split the fruit in half with the fingers or cut with a knife, and eat the gelatinous, juicy flesh. Spit out the three to eleven flat black seeds.
Another common method of eating a star fruit is by enjoying it as one would a kiwi: by cutting in half and scooping the flesh with a spoon. Try not to scoop too close to the skin, as this will release latex into the fruit.
They do not last more than 5 days or so at room temperature. In refrigeration about temperature range of 37-43F, they can last for upto three weeks.
Star apple recipes ideas and uses
Mix pulp of the fruit with condensed coconut milk and freeze to enjoy star apple ice cream.
Blend it into tasty healthy smoothies or sherbet.
In Jamaica, made into jam or preserves.
Add them into your salad or juices.
Read about other interesting fruits