Star apple is a fruit commonly grown in Southern orchards. Entering a star apple orchard, you will see thousands of these fruit hanging loosely on branches. They have smooth peel that is either green or violet.
The inside is shaped like a star, which is why it is called a star apple. (In Vietnamese, its name (vu sua) evokes a woman’s breast because of its milky flesh.) Before eating a star apple, press your hands evenly around the fruit until it gets very soft; then with a knife, cut it into two parts. With a spoon, grate the pulp until only the outer cover remains. In summer, a glass of star apple soaked in sweetly sugared iced water has no rivals among refreshing drinks.
The fruit is globose and typically measures from 2 to 3 inches in diameter.
When ripe, it usually has purple skin with a faint green area appearing around the calyx. A radiating star pattern is visible in the pulp. Greenish-white and yellow-fruited cultivars are sometimes available. The skin is rich in latex, and both it and the rind are not edible. The flattened seeds are light brown and hard. It is a seasonal fruit bearing tree.
The fruits are used as a fresh dessert fruit; it is sweet and often served chilled. Infusions of the leaves have been used against diabetes and articular rheumatism. The fruit has antioxidant properties.
The bark is considered a tonic and stimulant, and a bark decoction is used as an antitussive. The fruit also exists in three colors, dark purple, greenish brown and yellow. The purple fruit has a denser skin and texture while the greenish brown fruit has a thin skin and a more liquid pulp; the yellow variety is less common and difficult to find.
In Vietnam, the most famous variety is Lò Rèn milk fruit coming from Vĩnh Kim commune, Châu Thành District, Tiền Giang Province.