Bilimbi is a sour fruit, Not the same sour taste you get when you bite into a lemon, it has a tart twangy searing tang all its own. The best comparison I can muster up would be a very acidic partially ripe grape or gooseberry, whose flesh is slightly soft and just initiating the process of gathering its sweetness. Like its close relative star fruit, which some might be familiar with, it is slightly ribbed.
The fruits have a soft semi-crunchy skin, like a crispy pickle and a moist flesh juicy enough that it dribbles down your throat faster than the flesh you are still chewing. Some consider it too acidic to eat raw and it is incorporated into a number of recipes, as well as made into relishes, chutneys and preserves. There are generally several small, pale and flat seeds within each fruit. They are oblong and grow in clusters. The trees are bushy with green fern-like leaves and attractive burgundy flowers. Mature trees are able to bear bushels of fruit annually.
Other names for Bilimbi fruit are Cucumber tree, Bilincha, Blimbin and Mimbro.
The juice of the Bilimbi fruit contains elevated levels of oxalate, an organic acid which gives the Bilimbi fruit its characteristically sour taste. If consumed in excess it can cause kidney stones and kidney failure in extreme cases.
Bilimbi fruit is also well endowed with potassium, vitamins A and C. The compounds withing the fruit combine to create anti-inflammatory, antimicrobrial and strong antioxidative properties.
Some of these properties have earned bilimbi a honored place in the folk medicine of indigenous peoples in its native habitats, India, Southeast Asia through Indonesia and Austrailia.
A tropical fruit believed to have originated in south east Asia it can and is also grown in the Caribbean and central and southern America, where it is known as Mimbro. In Australia it is grown commercially. The Bilimbi tree grows best in warm, sunny climates, where temperatures are within the range of 75 to 850 Farenheit.