Yuzu

General Information: The yuzu's flavor is tart, closely resembling that of the grapefruit, with overtones of Mandarin orange. It is rarely eaten as a fruit, though in the Japanese cuisine its aromatic zest is used to garnish some dishes, and its juice is commonly used as a seasoning, somewhat like the way the lemon is used in other cuisines.

Yuzu is also known for its characteristically strong aroma, and the oil from its skin is marketed as a fragrance. In Japan, bathing with yuzu on Toji (the winter solstice) is a popular custom. The whole fruits are floated in the hot water of the bath (sometimes enclosed in a cloth bag), releasing their aroma. The fruit may also be cut in half, allowing the citrus juice to mingle with the bathwater. The 'yuzuyu,' or yuzu bath, is said to guard against colds, warm the body, and relax the mind.

Beginning in the early 21st century, yuzu has been increasingly used by chefs in the United States and other Western nations, achieving notice in a 2003 article in The New York Times (The Secrets Behind Many Chefs’ Not-So-Secret Ingredient).

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