Harvest fruit when and least 2/3 colored, and can be left out for a day inside to ripen fully. They can be eaten fresh out of hand, sliced in the traditional 'star' shape, or they can be sectioned. They can also be juiced or incorporated in jams or jellies. Dehydrated carambola is also a popular method of preparation. Carambolas are high in antioxidants, vitamin C, dietary fiber and flavonoids, which help your body absorb vitamin C. They also contain Oaxacilic acid, which can disrupt the absorption of magnesium and calcium, and can cause major issues for people with kidney disease, especially oxalate kidney stones PLEASE DO NOT EAT CARAMBOLA/STAR FRUIT IF YOU HAVE AND KIDNEY ISSUES. Much like grapefruit, carambola has been known to interact with some prescription medications, so please consult your doctor before before eating starfruit if you take pharmaceuticals.
Carambolas are surprisingly cold tolerant, surviving temps as low as 25 deg, but should be grown in sheltered areas. They have delicate leaves and branches that do not take high winds well, though the trees themselves will survive hurricanes. It enjoys the morning sun and can take afternoon sun, though partial shade in the afternoon will serve them well. It is low maintenance in the fact that it can grow in a variety of soils, from sand to heavy clay. Caramels require daily, consistent watering after planting, but once established can tolerate short droughts and floods, though perpetually wet or dry soil will make it very unhappy. Caramels are heavy producers, and fruit may be thinned when young to both keep the tree upright (staking is also recommended) and to improve the size and quality of the fruit. They will produce sporadically between July and February, sometimes giving 3-4 crops per year. Carambolas can be trained using the espalier method.