I took a trip to the Philipines several years ago. In what looked much like an American diner in Bagio City I had a wonderful treat, a bite of star apple AKA Kaimito / Caimito. I’ve been telling people for years that this fruit tastes like… well… vanilla ice cream. Of course, no one really believed me.
Look what I just found
STARAPPLE (Chrysophyllum cainito)
This is a close relative of the Abiu. It has a wonderful milkshake flavor. The fruits are purple or green. When sliced open they have a star design in the center. The tree is very beautiful. The leaves have a bronze color on the under side. This tree takes 3 to 5 years to bear. It is large and likes full sun and good drainage. Plant 25 to 30 feet apart.
Star Apple needs a very warm climate. How am I going to grow one here in San Francisco?? :-(
Update: January 2016
I found a farm in southern Florida that grows Caimito! Khemara Farms. The fruit is apparently known in other languages: Tek Dahko in Khmer, and U-Soeur in Vietnamese.
It’s been several years and I think my grand plans to bring Star Apple to the peoples of America (or at least my mouth) aren’t being realized.
I had a conversation on the phone with someone at Khemara Farms in 2011. He said it is eaten in February and March. He also said that every 5 years or so, cold weather ruins the crop, and they are in far south Florida, 25 degrees latitude, just 1 town over from Key Largo! I’m going to have a hard time growing Star Apple in Northern California ;-).
My good friend known as PPG on my blog wrote to me in 2011 about Star Apple. I think she was forwarding me a message from a friend of hers named Daryl D. but I’ve lost the reference:
I just recently had a conversation with the maid about this fruit. I was wondering why sometimes when she brought it home it was really fabulous, and other times just awful. She told me that it’s best when fresh from the tree. It took me some time to wrangle out of her that one of our neighbors lets her pick from their trees when they have fruit. She thought I’d be horrified haha. She also told me that she and her friends NEVER eat the ones from the grocery store because they were so sub-par.
So, apparently, it doesn’t ship well, and bruises easily. That said, I know it’s really popular in Puerto Rico and being subtropical, I’d be really surprised if there weren’t some small farmers in Florida raising some. With the popularity of tropical fruits, and with the caimito offering so many health benefits from pretty much every part of the tree, I bet if you poke around some, you could find a producer in Florida that’s willing to ship.