Yuzu has tantilized the human senses for generations. Never used as a main ingredient, it has served to bring out the best flavor in countless dishes using it’s addicting aroma, refreshing flavor, and beautiful color. Up until recently, you was enjoyed as a seasonal condiment. Abundant in the winter months, yuzu was used in culinary dishes as well as in onset baths. However, today, yuzu can be enjoyed year round thanks to cultivation across Japan that allows for delayed harvests.
Yuzu has a unique and wonderrful aroma. While it is usually not eaten raw as a fruit due to it’s acidic nature, the squeezed juice and skin of the fruit is widely used in culinary dishes and deserts. Yuzu is also a favorite for use in fragrances, cosmetics, oils, and many other products. It has a refreshing, light and wonderfully citrus characteristic and cannot be compared to a lemon or lime.
Yuzu originated in China and was said to have spread to Japan during the Nara Period. The first mention of Yuzu in Japanese literature was around the year 772 and the fruit has been widely loved by Japanese since then.
Although Yuzu is shipped year around, November and December are the main seasons. The peel is very bumpy and they grow to about 100-130g in size. The Yuzu sold in summer is usually green and has thinner peel. Yuzu fruit harvested after fall are yellow in color and the best.
Japanese often enjoy taking a hot bath filled with whole Yuzu fruit. It is said to improve blood flow and assist the body in maintaining warm temperatures. It’s perfect for the cold and dry season. The relaxing aroma of the Yuzu while bathing is another appealing factor.
Yuzu trees can withstand cold temperatures and are popular to grow in personal gardens. However, the trees come with a lot of thorns so it may be wise to grow a species without thorns.
How to choose
It’s best to choose a Yuzu that has a nice color spread evenly throughout the peel. The peel should also be firm and free of any black stains or scratches. The stem area of the fruit should also feel firm and free of any discoloration. Finally, it’s always good to choose a Yuzu that has a strong refreshing aroma.
How to store
Store inside a ziploc bag to prevent drying out and put in refrigerator. It should last about 1-2 weeks.
For long term storage, it’s better to take the peel, slice it into thin strips and either dry it, or freeze it.
Frozen Yuzu peel is great to add to food dishes, ramen, and even to champagne! How to eat
Yuzu is highly acidic and doesnt taste good when eaten like an orange. The peel is usually cut or scraped off and used as a condiment. The juice is used like lemon juice or added to drinks for flavor and aroma. Yuzu is also popular as vinegar, Yuzu-Kosho (yuzu pepper), jam, Yuzu miso and juice.
Yuzu kosho is made by taking ground Yuzu peel and mixing with ground green peppers.
The Yuzu can also be sliced and put into tea with sugar or honey. It tastes similar to hot lemon tea.
As candy, the Yuzu peel is dipped in sugar, then dried to create an all natural tasty citrus treat.