Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Buddha's Hand

Buddha's Hand

Frieda's Specialty Produce kindly sent me a Buddha's Hand fruit to try. Kind of timely around Halloween, right?

I actually first saw it in New York on vacation. I had no idea what it was. It looked like an alien fruit!

Contrary to what you may think, this fruit is not "new" or a hybrid; it's actually one of the oldest citron fruits originating from China. You can find them at speciality stores like Dean & Deluca and Whole Foods. If you see it, don't be scared! Give it a shot.
The flavor is like a mild, slightly sweet, but not sour citrus fruit. Think a cross between a mid lemon and sweet kumquat. The tartness level is low. It also has a floral quality to it.

It doesn't have any pulpy, juicy flesh like lemons and oranges beyond the peel. The rind is edible and you can actually eat the entire thing, including the white center inside.

Here are some suggestions on how to use this citron claw:

  • Raw It tastes great as is
  • Zest it into a salad dressing, salad, yogurt parfait (see below video), macerated berries
  • Candy it Some cooks like to cube it, but I like it in thin strips as it reminds me of Godiva's discontinued candied orange rinds with dark chocolate). I am going to post about candied Buddha's Hand soon.
  • Simple syrup I love citrus simple syrup in whiskey sours. After I candy them (see above), the left over liquid will be my syrup. It till be very similar to my candied mandarinquat one from earlier. 
  • Sangria
  • Cocktail garnish Peel a strip off the fruit and twist to release the oils. Place in the drip or on the rim of the glass.
  • Tea infusion Just slice it into some hot water and add honey or agave. This is a great immune booster in the cold seasons.  
  • Infuse vodka
  • Preserve Like you would a lemon
  • Air freshener Slice it and let the fragrance brighten up a room
Here's a quick little video on a quick and simple yogurt bowl I put together using the Buddha's Hand rind and fruit. 

Do you have any other ideas on how to use it? Comment below!

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