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Yuzu Citrus From A to Z: 26 Things to Know

Yuzu Citrus From A to Z: 26 Things to Know

Do you know much about yuzu? Here are 26 interesting facts and figures about the Japanese fruit, also known as citrus junos.

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Aromatic. Its aroma is the most salient characteristic of this fruit which perfumes trees and food.

Butter. Salted butter aromatized with yuzu peel: delicious with fish and seafood!

Citrus junus. The botanical name of this fruit-bearing tree of the genus citrus.

Dehydrated. Yuzu peel is sold in powder form for sprinkling on desserts and savoury dishes such as fish tartare.

Eggs. Yuzu and eggs pair up beautifully when cooked slowly. On the island of Shikoku in Japan, in an area famous for its yuzu fruit groves, eggs are produced whose flavour is reminiscent of this citrus fruit. A chemical ploy? Far from it: the hens’ diet is rich in yuzu peel! And on the subject of yuzu and eggs, try it instead of lemon the next time you make mayonnaise, possibly flavoured with fresh herbs such as coriander or mint.

Freeze-dried. Not available as a fresh fruit? Try freeze-dried yuzu flakes sprinkled over sashimi, scallops and seafood.

Gouttes. The French term for liquid pearls, because food designer Christine Le Tennier has actually created these alginate-covered yuzu pearls for garnishing salads, desserts and other dishes.

Hybrid. This fruit is believed to be a cross between a mandarin and a papeda fruit, a sub genus of the genus citrus which includes the kaffir lime, if not, in its turn, a cross between the lime and the citron.

Industrial. In some Asian countries the yuzu is widely used as an ingredient also in industrially produced food. For example, a yuzu flavoured Kit Kat is available in Japan.

Japan. This is the homeland of the yuzu which, owing to its acidity, is rarely eaten as fresh fruit. Conversely, its zest is highly appreciated for garnishing and flavouring purposes, while its juice is an alternative to that of lemon.

Koshō. This is a paste made from yuzu peel, chilli pepper and salt. With its bitter, salty and hot spicy flavour, it is sold in a green or red version and is perfect for serving with sushi and sashimi, but also for accompanying some noodle or soup recipes.

Liquid. Yuzu-based beverages are also popular, such as wine, liqueurs and the tea typical of Korea. In the West, it is used to flavour beer, cider and even Finnish glögg.

Marmalade. Not only on bread at breakfast time: it is perfect for accompanying pork or fish dishes, and for glazing vegetables such as carrots. Try this yuzy jelly recipe for example.

Nana-iro tōgarashi. Also known as Shichi-mi tōgarashi, or simply shichimi, it is a well known spice mix called "seven flavour chilli pepper", which consists of red chilli pepper, called togarshi, to which mandarin peel, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, hemp seeds, chopped alga nori, Sichuan pepper and, in some versions, yuzu have been added.

Oils. The fruit is extremely rich in essential oils whose fragrance recalls the notes of grapefruit, mandarin, citron, lime and spices.

Ponzu. A citrusy sauce that is popular in Japanese cuisine, it is sour, watery and dark in colour. The citrus fruits used to make it, apart from yuzu, are sudachi, daidai (a bitter orange) and kabosu, while its basic ingredients are mirin rice wine, bonito flakes and alga kombu.

Quest. The research of haute cuisine has also discovered the yuzu fruit and many great chefs, pastry chefs and chocolate makers in western countries love it and use it. Ferran Adrià, Alain Ducasse, Jordi Bordas, Pascal Maynard, Laurent Gerbaud and Martin Benn of the Sepia restaurant in Sydney, who adds it to his chawanmushi Japanese custard.

Ramen. In ramen? Delicious! Well worth trying are those by Afuri in Tokyo which has now also opened in the USA.

Sudachi. Another fruit of the genus Citrus which originates from Japan and resembles the yuzu, it is aromatic but not too bitter to be eaten fresh.

Touji. This is the winter solstice which is celebrated in Japan on 22 December: tradition would have it that a dousing of yuzu juice brings good fortune and protects against seasonal ailments.

USA. The yuzu has now become popular in the United States, not in the form of fresh fruit which is hard to come by, but as juice or paste.

Vinegar. This is made from yuzu juice and rice vinegar. Japanese warriors have always drunk vinegar in the past to keep up their strength and ensure a long life.

Well-being. Yuzu is one of the new ‘health-giving fruits. It has various beneficial properties and contains three times as much vitamin C as lemons.

Xiāngchéng. This is the Chinese term for yuzu, which actually originates from China where it has been in use for at least 1200 years.

Yamabushi. These are the ascetic hermits endowed with supernatural powers in traditional Japanese mysticism. Legend has it that the famous yuzukoshō seasoning was created by them, starting from a yuzu tree on the sacred Mount Hiko.

Zest. The gourmet heart of the yuzu, a must-have in any cuisine of Japanese inspiration.

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