How to preserve kamias

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “how to preserve kamias” and discuss the methods used to preserve kamias.

How to preserve kamias

The increased demand of tropical fruits in recent years. Studies forecasted that demand for local tropical fruits will increase to 2.7 million metric tonnes by 2020 with a growth rate of 2.3% per annum (1).

Kamias can be preserved by:

  • Sun drying
  • Making jams  and chutneys
  • Adding a brine solution
  • Making wine or cider

Kamias and its benefits

Kamias, also known as bilimbi or “cucumber tree” or “tree sorrel” in English, is a tropical fruit that is common in Southeast Asia. 

Kamias is usually not eaten raw due to its highly acidic content and sour flavor. Kamias are typically cooked as curries or made into jams and chutneys as a side dish.

Kamias can also be used as a substitute for lime and lemons to add a sour, acidic flavor to dishes.

Kamias is not a well-known fruit but it has many health benefits such as a high nutrient content including calcium, phosphorus, and vitamins that aid in bone health and disease prevention. Kamias also has a high content of dietary fiber that improves digestion. 

Also called star fruits or carambolas, kamias are rich in natural antioxidants such as vitamin C, β-carotene, and gallic acid. Furthermore, it is a good source of magnesium, iron, zinc, manganese, potassium, and phosphorus, and contains high amounts of fibers and low calories which may aid in controlling blood sugar. According to studies, the intake of star fruit increases the removal of cholesterol and bile acids from the body and it has anti-carcinogenic effects (2).

How to preserve kamias by sun-drying

Drying is an important food-processing technique and is one of the oldest methods of food processing. In developing countries, it is possible to practice methods such as sun drying, oven drying and dehydration as they are cost-effective (3). Sun-drying is a traditional method used to preserve kamias. If the fruits cannot be sundried, they can also be dehydrated using a food dehydrator. Simply follow the instructions of the food dehydrator manual. 

  • Handpick and wash kamias fruits.
  • Spread them on a clean mat or tray in an area with sufficient sunlight.
  • If kept outdoors, place it in an area free from birds and insects.
  • Allow the fruits to dry until there is no moisture left.
  • Store the sun dried fruit in a sealed airtight jar in a cool and dry place.

Sun-dried kamias can be added to dishes such as fish and shrimp. It is better to re-hydrate the kamias by soaking them in water before adding them to dishes.

Studies show that drying significantly decreases the ascorbic acid content of the fruit samples and increasing drying air temperature causes more loss in vitamin C in the dried fruits. Vitamin C losses can be due to enzymatic and chemical degradation, heating, or leaching. The antioxidant capacity of the fruits were also reduced with sun drying (3).

How to preserve kamias by making jams and chutneys

Kamias fruits are usually made into jams and chutneys. This reduces the sour flavor of the fruits while preserving them.

There are various recipes for both chutneys and jams. Chutney recipes call for the addition of spices such as chili so the final product will taste both sour and savory. 

Sauce and ketchup have the same ingredients and are also cooked in the same manner as chutney except that fruit/vegetable pulp or juice used is sieved after cooking to remove skin, seed and stalk of fruits, vegetables and spices to give a smooth consistency to the final product (4).

Kamias can also be made into a jam. Recipes for jam do not call for the addition of many spices and chili is omitted so the final product is sweeter and not savory.

Jam is a concentrated fruit product processing a fairly heavy body, rich in natural fruit flavor. Pectin in fruit gives it a good set and high concentration of sugar facilitates its preservation. It is prepared by boiling the fruit pulp and juice with sufficient quantity of sugar to a reasonably thick consistency to hold the fruit tissues in position. A fruit jam should contain a minimum 45% of fruit portion and minimum 68% of total soluble solids (4).

To make kamias chutney, kamias are cooked in a mixture of vinegar and spices such as chili,  ginger, turmeric powder and fenugreek. 

This recipe provides a complete method for making kamias chutney.

To make kamias jam, kamias fruit is cooked in a mixture of water, sugar and cinnamon. A recipe for kamias jam can be found here.

How to preserve kamias in a brine solution

Fermentation is a relatively efficient, low energy preservation process which increases the shelf life and decreases the need for refrigeration or other form of food preservation technology. Fermentation is basically a measured decomposition of organic substances induced by beneficial microorganisms that fundamentally convert carbohydrates to alcohols or organic acids. When the fruits and vegetables are fermented it is known as pickling (5).

Kamias preserve well in a brine solution. The salt in the brine solution counterbalances the sourness of the kamias so the overall flavor is improved.

A study showed that Carambola pickle slices pretreated in 10% NaCl for 24 h followed by pasteurization at 78°C for 15 min in vinegar, sucrose, and spices were liked very much to extremely well in overall acceptance by sensory panelists. Inclusion of 0.25% ascorbic acid with 1% citric acid in the pickling solution resulted in the most stable color and texture qualities (6).

To preserve kamias in brine :

  • Wash and cut the kamias.
  • Blanch them in hot water if you prefer a soft texture. If you prefer a harder texture, skip the blanching.
  • Place the kamias in a sterilized jar.
  • Mix salt with water and bring it to a boil (The solution must be 2% salt. So for every 100 ml of water, there must be 2g of salt).  
  • Allow the brine solution to cool down.
  • After the brine has cooled, add it to the kamias until they are completely covered.
  • Seal and label the jar.
  • Store the jar at room temperature for about 3 days.
  • After 3 days, place it in a refrigerator. 

How to preserve kamias by making wine

Wines are healthy alcoholic beverages that have been seen as a natural remedy for illness since so many decades from early days. It is one of the functionally fermented foods and has many health benefits such as anti-ageing effects, destruction of cancer cells, prevention of stroke by keeping the arteries clean by polyphenols and improvement of lung function through antioxidants (7).

Kamias wine or vinegar is simply made by adding water, sugar and yeast to kamias. Kamias wine can be used in place of apple cider or coconut vinegar in some recipes.

There are 3 main steps for making kamias wine. They are:

  1. Primary fermentation
  2. Secondary fermentation
  3. Racking

For primary fermentation:

Kamias wine is made by boiling kamias with sugar and water, allowing them to cool and then adding yeast. Then the wine is then bottled and kept in a cool dry place for about 20 days.

For secondary fermentation:

Wine is strained and kept in an airtight bottle for another 20 days.

For racking:

During racking, the wine is siphoned into another bottle. This step is done to leave behind the excess yeast. Racking can be done either once or twice. If racking is not done properly, the final kamias wine may have a yeast flavor.

A complete method for making kamias wine can be found here.


In this brief guide, we answered the question “how to preserve kamias” and discussed in depth the 4 main methods used to preserve kamias. We also looked at the benefits of eating this little-known tropical fruit.

If you have any questions or comments, please let us know.

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Suntharalingam, C., and M. F. Othman. Competitiveness of Malaysia’s fruits in the global market: Revealed comparative advantage analysis. Malays J Math Sci, 2017, 11, 143-157.


Lakmal, Kasun, et al. Nutritional and medicinal properties of Star fruit (Averrhoa carambola): A review. Food Sci Nutr, 2021, 9, 1810-1823.


DUTTA, PIYALI, et al. Value addition of some underutilized fruit crops. Advances, 2016, 2604.


FAO, Fermented fruits and vegetables-A global perspective, FAO Agricultural Services Bulletin, Rome, Italy. 1998, 134.


MANO‐FRANCIS, I. N. G. R. I. D., and NEELA BADRIE. Effects of brining pretreatment and storage on carambola (Averrhoa carambola L.) Pickles. J food process preserv, 2004, 28, 51-67.