|Yuzu branch with ripe fruit|
|Species:|| C. ichangensis × |
C. reticulata var. austera
| Citrus ichangensis × |
Citrus reticulata var. austera
The yuzu (Citrus ichangensis × C. reticulata, formerly C. junos Siebold ex. Tanaka; Japanese ユズ, 柚, 柚子 (yuzu); 유자 (yuja) in Korean; from Chinese 柚子, yòuzi but sometimes also 香橙 (xiāngchéng)) is a citrus fruit and plant originating in East Asia.
It is believed to be a hybrid of sour mandarin and Ichang papeda. The fruit looks somewhat like a small grapefruit with an uneven skin, and can be either yellow or green depending on the degree of ripeness. Yuzu fruits, which are very aromatic, typically range between 5.5 and 7.5 cm in diameter, but can be as large as a regular grapefruit (up to 10 cm or larger).
Yuzu forms an upright shrub or small tree, which commonly has many large thorns. Leaves are notable for a large petiole, resembling those of the related kaffir lime and ichang papeda, and are heavily scented.
Yuzu closely resembles sudachi (a Japanese citrus from Tokushima Prefecture) in many regards; they share a similar mandarin-ichang papeda ancestry, though yuzu eventually ripen to an orange colour, and there are subtle differences between the flavours of the fruit.
The Yuzu originated and grows wild in central China and Tibet. Confusingly, in modern Chinese, the name 柚子 (yòuzi) refers to the pomelo, while the yuzu is known as 香橙 (xiāngchéng). It was introduced to Japan and Korea during the Tang Dynasty and it is in these nations that it is cultivated most widely.
It is unusual among citrus plants in being relatively frost-hardy, due to its cold-hardy C. ichangensis ancestry, and can be grown in regions with winters at least as low as -9 °C (15 °F) where more sensitive citrus would not thrive.
In Japan, an ornamental version of yuzu called hana yuzu (花ゆず, 花柚子) "flower yuzu" is also grown for its flowers rather than its fruit.
A sweet variety of yuzu known as the yuku, only present in Japan, became severely endangered during the 1970s and 1980s; a major attempt has been made to revive this varietal in southern Japan.
Use in Japanese cuisine
The yuzu's flavour 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 (outer rind) is used to garnish some dishes, and its juice is commonly used as a seasoning, somewhat as lemon is used in other cuisines.
Yuzu has also been used extensively in the flavoring of many snack products, such as Doritos.
Use in Korean cuisine
In Korean cuisine, yuzu (called yuja in Korean) is used, thinly sliced and combined with sugar and honey, to make a thick, marmalade-like syrup containing pieces of the chopped rind and fruit. A tablespoon of this syrup (which can either be made at home or purchased) stirred into a cup of hot water makes a beverage called yujacha, lit. "yuzu tea", which is used as a remedy for the common cold and similar winter illnesses.
It is also used to make yuja hwachae, a variety of traditional fruit punch. Yuzu is also a common ingredient in salad dressings, combined with doenjang soy bean paste, rice vinegar, sesame oil, spring onion and garlic.
Use in Western cuisines
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. Yuzu is used by a number of breweries in beer: Almanac Beer Company in San Francisco, CA produces a barrel aged sour citrus ale using yuzu as one of several adjuncts. Colorado-based New Belgium Brewing Company produces a limited-release imperial Berliner weisse that features yuzu as well as London, UK based brewery Pressure Drop producing Nanban Kanpai - a Wheat IPA that features yuzu. Insight Brewing Company in Minneapolis, Minnesota brews a pale ale with yuzu, called The Garden of the Hell Chicken. Garage Project, a brewery in Wellington, New Zealand brews a sour beer featuring yuzu and honeydew melon called Wabi Sabi Sour. The Dutch beer called iKi and in Finnish cider called Golden Cap Black, brewed in Finland. BridgePort Brewing also used the fruit in its new summer beer, Summer Squeeze. The Swedish glögg manufacturer Blossa had a limited edition which contains yuzu and ginger. Finnish soft drink manufacturer Hartwall has a limited edition soda containing yuzu. In Australia, a popular flavour of Mentos "3D" chewing gum is yuzu-grapefruit-orange. A Czech beermaker Zubr has a yuzu-flavoured shandy. Rockridge Orchards, an artisan cidery in Washington State in the U.S., produces a yuzu cider; yuzu is the only citrus fruit that will grow in the Puget Sound area.
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 Tōji, the winter solstice, is a custom that dates to at least the early 18th century. Whole yuzu 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 yuzu bath, known commonly as yuzuyu, but also as yuzuburo, is said to guard against colds, treat the roughness of skin, warm the body, and relax the mind.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Citrus ichangensis × reticulata.|
- "Yuzu Wisely - Japan's power citrus is a welcome cocktail alternative", The Tasting Table, August 29, 2006
- Photo of a bottle of yuzu juice
- "Food Marketers Put Taro, Yuzu In Recipe For Growth", by Sonia Reyes, from Brandweek, June 26, 2006
- "Cooks Look for Answers to Citrus Freeze", from National Public Radio Weekend Edition Sunday, January 28, 2007