Star fruit (carambola) may be introduced in moderation as soon as baby is ready to start solids, which is generally around 6 months of age. If your child has kidney disease, you may want to avoid star fruit as studies have found that consuming large quantities can be toxic for adults with conditions that impact the kidney.
Native to Southeast Asia, star fruit grow on trees in tropical climates around the world, where it goes by different names—balimbing, fuang, kamaranga, kamrakh, or ma fen to name a few. The fruit’s anglicized name hints at a common preparation: when cut crosswise, the slices resemble stars—a delightful shape to stimulate the senses of babies, toddlers, and adults alike. Ripe star fruit is sweet and slightly tart, like a cross between a green grape and an almost-ripe pear. Unripe star fruits are more acidic and a little sour, like a green apple. Star fruit is often harvested shortly after it ripens when its green skin has started to fade to golden yellow or sunny orange, depending on the variety—some of which are sweeter than others. The fruit can be eaten raw or cooked in savory or sweet preparations, from fresh chutneys and preserved pickles, to fish soups and vegetable stews, to iced drinks or simple salads of sliced star fruit dusted with salt and spice.
Amelia, 7 months, tastes star fruit for the first time.
Kalani, 8 months, eats star fruit for the first time.
Callie, 15 months, tastes star fruit for the first time.
Yes—when served in moderation. Star fruit offers plenty of fiber for gut health, plus it is relatively low in natural sugar. It also contains lots of vitamin C to help baby’s body absorb iron, an important nutrient that is often low in a child’s diet, from plant-based foods.
Note that star fruit can contain a large amount of oxalic acid, a compound found in plants that can bind to minerals in the body. For most people, oxalates are not an issue, and in fact, the body naturally produces its own oxalates. However, some studies show that the presence of unusually high oxalate levels and other toxic compounds within star fruit can be toxic for adults when consumed in excess, particularly in individuals with existing kidney conditions. If your child has a condition that impacts the kidney, or if you have any concerns or questions on this matter, talk to your child’s health care provider for guidance.
Concerned about the oxalates? Sweet star fruit contains significantly less oxalates and is typically larger, while sour star fruit contains more oxalate and is smaller in size.
★Tip: Like grapefruit, star fruit can interact with certain medications. If your child is taking medications, talk to your child’s health care provider before introducing star fruit.
No, but the seeds can be. While the entire fruit is edible (including the waxy skin), remove the seeds before serving. As always, make sure to create a safe eating environment, stay within an arm’s reach of your baby during meals, and check out our age-appropriate serving suggestions.
No. Star fruit is not a common allergen, though, in theory, one can be allergic to any food.
Although not commonly reported, some people may experience Oral Allergy Syndrome (also called pollen food allergy syndrome) when eating star fruit. Oral Allergy Syndrome typically results in short-lived itching in the mouth and is unlikely to result in a dangerous reaction.
As you would when introducing any new food, start by offering a small quantity for the first few times. If there is no adverse reaction, gradually increase the quantity over future meals.
Every baby develops on their own timeline, and the suggestions on how to cut or prepare particular foods are generalizations for a broad audience. Your child is an individual and may have needs or considerations beyond generally accepted practices. In determining the recommendations for size and shape of foods, we use the best available scientific information regarding gross, fine, and oral motor development to minimize choking risk. The preparation suggestions we offer are for informational purposes only and are not a substitute for child-specific, one-on-one advice from your pediatric medical or health professional or provider. It is impossible to fully eliminate all risk of a baby or child choking on any liquid, puree, or food. We advise you to follow all safety protocols we suggest to create a safe eating environment and to make educated choices for your child regarding their specific needs. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read or seen here.
Serve star-shaped pieces by cutting the fruit crosswise and remove the skin and seeds after cutting. Slices can be cut rather thick to start for the youngest eaters. If your baby is biting off large pieces of the fruit and is struggling to manage these pieces, slice it more thinly. Because raw star fruit is firm, it can be difficult for babies to consume. Alternatively, cook star fruit until soft then serve mashed or as thick star sections for your baby to self-feed. Cold and/or frozen star fruit slices make excellent teethers!
Offer thin slices of cooked or raw star fruit with the seeds removed (skin can be left on or off) for your baby to practice biting and tearing. While you can also dice the fruit, doing so doesn’t necessarily reduce any choking risk. When in doubt, slice thinly.
Continue to offer thin slices of cooked or raw starfruit and explore increasing the thickness of the slices as your toddler becomes adept at biting, tearing, and chewing.
If you’d like to remove the skin (which is edible but challenging to chew), cut star fruit crosswise into stars first, then peel away the skin from each slice.
Read more about when a baby can start eating solids on our Readiness to Start Solid Food FAQ page.
2 child-sized servings
1 ripe star fruit
1 lime wedge
1 pinch cinnamon
Wash and dry the star fruit.
Cut crosswise into age-appropriate sizes.
If you like, peel the skin from each slice. The skin is edible, but it can be challenging for young eaters to chew and swallow.
Squeeze the juice of the lime wedge onto the stars, then sprinkle with cinnamon.
Serve: Lay the fruit on your baby’s plate and let your child self-feed by trying to pick up the food, or pass a piece in the air for your baby to grab. For toddlers with advanced eating skills, serve a large lime wedge or spice on the side and let kids season the fruit on their own—an activity that is just as much a learning opportunity as an enticing invitation to eat.
To Store: Cut star fruit keeps in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 1 day.
The bright, refreshing taste of star fruit pairs well with sweet and savory flavors alike. Try serving star fruit alongside fellow tropical fruits like dragon fruit, mango, kiwi, papaya, or pineapple. Use star fruit to balance the richness of hearty proteins like beef, lamb, and pork, or to offset the heat of dishes with fiery flavor from cayenne, jalapeno, or Sichuan pepper. Or try pairing it with creamy foods like coconut, goat cheese, mascarpone cheese, or ricotta cheese. Star fruit also tastes great on its own with a sprinkle of your favorite citrus or spice!
J. Truppi, MSN, CNS
V. Kalami, MNSP, RD, CSP
K. Grenawitzke, OTD, OTR/L, SCFES, IBCLC, CNT
S. Bajowala, MD, FAAAAI. Board-Certified Allergist & Immunologist (allergy section)
R. Ruiz, MD, FAAP. Board-Certified General Pediatrician & Pediatric Gastroenterologist
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