Do pickles grow on trees? You might think so if you were to see the Bilimbi in full fruit. A close relative of the Carambola, or Star Fruit, Bilimbi resembles small bright green pickles growing right out of the trunk of the tree. Depending on the weather, you should be able to try one the Bilimbi fruits from about February through December.
You may be surprised when you taste it as the bilimbi is very sour! “Bilimbi Face” is the name we give to those who are tasting the fruit for the first time! Although Bilimbi is a pucker fruit, it is enjoyed in many ways: fresh fruit is chopped and mixed with rice and beans; it is dipped in rock salt and eaten; it is used in curry dishes, and the juice can be made into a refreshing drink.
The Bilimbi tree originates in tropical Asia, and today is widely grown in the warm climate of Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia. It can also be found in the tropical regions of the Caribbean, South and Central America and Australia. Outside of these tropical areas the tree does not do well due to cold temperatures. Here at the Fruit & Spice Park, we have one Bilimbi tree growing inside the warm Asian greenhouse, and another in the Kampong area sheltered by larger trees.
When you visit the Fruit & Spice Park, stop by the sampling table and taste the tropical Bilimbi for a taste experience you will never forget.