Bilimbi Tips

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  • Averrhoa bilimbi
  • A fruit cared for only by a few and unknown to most. The Bilimbi from the family Oxalidaceae is a minor fruit closely related to the more famous Carambola but it is quite different in appearance, manner of fruiting, flavour and uses than the Carambola. It is also more sensitive to cold than the Carambola, especially when very young. While the Carambola thrives in partial shade, the Bilimbi shows vigorous growth in full sun. Bilimbi’s lack of popularity stems from the fact that it is extremely acid. Native to the Moluccas, Bilimbi is now widely cultivated in Sri Lanka, Myanmar, India and throughout south-east Asia. It grows wild in the warmer parts of India. The Bilimbi is ellipsoid or almost cylindrical, its 5-edges not being as pronounced as in a Carambola. It is anywhere from 1½ to 4 inches long; capped by a thin, star-shaped calyx at the stem-end and tipped with 5 hair-like floral remnants at the apex. The unripe Bilimbi is crisp, goes from bright-green to yellowish-green, ivory or nearly white when ripe and then falls to the ground. The outer skin is glossy, very thin, soft and tender, and the flesh is green, jelly-like, juicy and extremely acid. Usually there are a few flat, disc-like, smooth and brown seeds.   Ref:  Asit Ghosh