Slightly larger than a mandarin orange, tastier than a lemon, more fragrant and versatile than perhaps every other citrus fruit, Yuzu has long been a key ingredient in Japanese cuisine. It is used in soups, sushi, tea, liquors, salad dressings, desserts, pastries, and even made into marmalade. Yuzu can also add a special decorative touch when used as a dish after the flesh has been scooped out or its peel can be thinly sliced at an angle to garnish a drink.
Yuzu is believed to have originated from the upper river basin of the Yangtze River in China more than 1,200 years ago; then cultivated and introduced to Japanese farmers during the Nara Period (710-794 AD). Currently, yuzu is grown in countries like Korea, Australia, Spain, Italy, France, and China—where it originated. Having been cultivated mostly in inland mountain areas, where there is a significant temperature gap between daytime and nighttime, the yuzu produced in Japan has an unrivalled rich aroma as compared to that of other countries.
5 Interesting Facts About Yuzu
Take a look below for 5 interesting and fascinating facts about this Japanese wonderfruit.
Yuzu is believed to be a cross between a mandarin and a papeda fruit, a subgenus of the genus citrus which includes the kaffir lime. Among the different types of citrus fruits, it is also known for its characteristically strong aroma, and the oil from its skin is often marketed as a fragrance.
Yuzu peel is marketed and sold in powder form for sprinkling on desserts and savoury dishes such as fish tartare.
In Japan, bathing with yuzu on Toji, the winter solstice is a custom that dates back to at least the early 18th century. Whole yuzu fruits are floated in the hot water of the bath, sometimes enclosed in a cloth bag, releasing their aroma.
Yuzu is rarely eaten as a fruit, though in Japanese cuisine its aromatic zest is used to garnish some dishes and its juice is used as a seasoning or dipping sauce.
Familiar with the citrus-based sauce ponzu? Yuzu is an integral ingredient in making this tart-tangy vinaigrette-like sauce.
The Secret Behind Many Beverage Innovators' Not-So-Secret Ingredient
“The love child of a lemon and mandarin with hints of grapefruit” is how a founder of a spirit establishment described yuzu. Yuzu might just be the upbeat, happiness-inducing ingredient we could all use right about now, especially during this season. Try these unique citrus drinks that use yuzu in various iterations: gin, espresso, soda water and tea.