The photo above was taken at one of the many citrus groves near my home.
Yuzu is a citrus fruit native to East Asia, including Japan. The fruit originated in China and also grows wild in central China and Tibet. It was introduced to Japan and Korea during the Tang Dynasty and yuzu is cultivated the most here. It is very cold hardy to minus 5 degrees C unlike most other citrus plants. There is also an ornamental version called hana yuzu (花ゆず, 花柚子) literally “flower yuzu” which is grown for its flowers rather than its fruit.
My mum makes really good warm clear soups using ponzu which is a dashi sauce that has yuzu in it, or sometimes by adding dried yuzu zest to the soup. Yuzu marmalade is made and sold here. A custom is bathing with yuzu on Toji (the winter solstice) and really at anytime this time of the year. We float the whole fruits are floated in the hot water of the bath (sometimes enclosed in a cloth bag). I’m looking to grow yuzu. A tablespoon of thinly sliced yuzu pieces including the rind and combined with sugar and honey, makes a syrup that is stirred into a cup of hot water makes a beverage called yuzu cha (in Japanese) (cha meaning “tea”) – it is really good the common cold. My mum makes lemon/lime/yuzu syrupy drinks almost daily.
More on yuzu cuisine here. Here’s a yuzu dressing you can make if you can find it:
- 2 tbsps yuzu juice
- 2 tbsps soy sauce
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- 4 tbsps vegetable oil