Vietnamese Star apple

Star apple is called “Vu sua” (means “milk from the breast” in Vietnamese), star apple is one of the fruits that have the most marvelous taste: its juice is fragrantly sweet and milky white like breast milk. The way people enjoy this fruit is also very strange. After cutting the fruit into two equal parts, we will use a spoon to scoop out the pulp, bit after bit, until nothing is left. Star apple is grown most in Can Tho province, where tourists can visit star apple orchard and try the fruit there.

Star apples are round and approximately two to four inches in diameter at maturity. Its skin is smooth, leathery and depending on variety either purple to red or yellow to green in color. The inner rind of the purple variety is dark purple and in green fruits white. This rind surrounds a soft, creamy, white pulp as well as six to eleven gelatinous seed cells. When the fruit is cut in half the gelatinous cells form a star shape, hence the name of the fruit. Some of the cells encase small, pointed, flat, black seeds. Fruits can contain anywhere between three and ten seeds, those with fewer seeds tend to have the best flavor. The pulp of the Star apple is aromatic and has a tropical sweet flavor with nuances of apple, lychee and persimmon. Ripe Star apples will be slightly wrinkled and dull in color with a soft give when squeezed. To fully ripen, keep at room temperature and once ripe store in the refrigerator.

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The pulp of the Star apple provides a fair amount of vitamin C, calcium and phosphorous. Its pulp has also been found to be rich in phytochemicals aka antioxidants, which have been shown to help to prevent certain cancers and support a healthy immune system. The pulp of the Star apple has been used to treat sore throats and reduce the inflammation associated with pneumonia and laryngitis. When ground the seeds can be used as a tonic and diuretic. In some areas both a beverage made of the bark of the Star apple tree and the pulp of the fruit are used to treat diarrhea and dysentery. If eaten in excess the Star apple can cause constipation.