Yuzu will complement the flavour and visual presentation of dishes with just a small amount of juice or rind. It has a refreshing acidity, bittersweetness, and bright yellow coloured knobbly skin. It is said to have originated in China but it is more associated with Japanese cuisine. It is an indispensable ingredient for Japanese winter dishes like hot pot (Nabe) dishes.
What is Yuzu fruits?
Yuzu(ゆず) is a citrus fruit and it is also known as “Yuzu” overseas as well. A yuzu fruit is a little bigger than a golf ball and it has bright yellow knobbly skin. It is thought that it originated in the upper reaches of the Yangtze River in China, though it is wider cultivated in Japan. Yuzu is mainly produced in western Japan such as Kochi prefecture, however it is a rare citrus fruit that is resistant to the cold climate and they are cultivated in North region of Japan also.
You will love this fruits because…
- It has an elegant scent that makes food and sweets refreshing.
- It adds a distinctive and beautiful fragrance to Japanese and western food.
- Whole yuzu fruit can be used and also can be preserved.
Where to get?
I live in Australia and I got my yuzu from “Mountain Yuzu” in Victoria. You need to subscribe to them and when the fresh fruits are available to purchase you will receive a notification. I also have a Japanese friend who lives in Queensland that gave me her harvests recently. Importing fresh Yuzu (both the fruit and trees) into the USA from abroad is banned by the U.S.D.A though, it is currently grown in California according to Melissa’s.com. Also you may find fresh yuzu fruits in local farmers markets in California.
How to pick good Yuzu fruits?
Yuzu trees have a lot of long and sharp thorns, so therefore it is difficult to choose one that has no scratches. However, the scratches will not affect the distinctive aroma and flavour of yuzu. Having said that, if you can, choose to pick ones that have only a few scratches if possible. Keep the following points when you can choose.
- The surface of its skin – When you touch the fruits, the skin is taut and firm. Avoid squishy and wrinkled skinned one.
- Weight – Choose the one that feels heavy. If it is light, it may be dry inside.
- Fragrance – The one has beautiful scent.
Culinary Usage of Yuzu in Japanese Cooking
Yuzu is mainly used to enhance the cooking by adding its aroma, acidity, and color of its zest. But there are many other ways to enjoy it.
- Zests/Peels – Yuzu Daikon, Nikujaga, Nabe dishes(Hot pot dishes)
- Yuzu Juice and zests – Yuzu ponzu, Yuzu miso, Yuzu koshō
- Whole fruits – yuzucha, candied yuzu peel, yuzu jam
How to Store ?
Yuzu is a citrus fruit to enjoy its scent. If you have many and do not plan to use them immediately, I recommend refrigerating or freezing them. They will keep in the fridge for a few weeks. After about a week, they may lose their beautiful scent. You can freeze them as a whole fruit or divide them into peel, flesh, and juice. Peeled skin and fresh will keep for a month and juice will keep for six months in the freezer.
A: Fresh yuzu is illegal to import into the US in order to protect American agriculture from diseases found in Asian crops. However, yuzu is now grown within the US, however supply is scarce and therefore expensive.