During the winter season it is common to see large orange-like fruit ripening on garden trees and in orchards in the Japanese countryside. This is the Citros junos or yuzu in Japanese.
Originally from China the yuzu can grow to resemble a grapefruit and is related to its smaller cousin the mandarin orange or tangerine (mikan). However, the yuzu is tart in taste, not sweet and is not peeled and eaten as is.
Yuzu are used in Japanese cuisine much like a lemon in western cooking: yuzu can be squeezed over fried foods such as tempura, form part of dressings and sauces such as ponzu, and set on the dish as a garnish decoration.
Yuzu are also often placed in baths or onsen spas in winter as a form of aromatherapy.
Yuzu have been "re-discovered" as a garnish and seasoning in the West and have been taken up as an essential ingredient by a number of US chefs. Yuzu juice comes in bottles and can be bought online. Yuzu is also a popular name for Japanese restaurants.
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Monday, January 21, 2008