Yuzu is an intensely perfumed Japanese citrus valued for its rind and tangy-sweet juice. It has a unique fragrance and flavor and is used in Japanese cuisine.
Yuzu (柚子), a small yellow or green citrus fruit, has a wonderful aromatic zest that retains its sourness even cooked at high temperatures. It is thought to have China before its popularity spread across Korea and Japan. In recent years, it has gained attention in the United States.
The Japanese also use the citrus in non-food products such as perfumes, soaps, and cosmetics and add it in the bathwater on Toji (winter solstice). The Japanese believe that soaking in a yuzu bath helps increase circulation, heal dry skin, and prevent sicknesses.
Table of contents
What Is Yuzu
Yuzu (Citrus junos) is a yellow or green citrus fruit that’s slightly flattened, about 5-10cm/2-4 in in diameter. It’s a hybrid between the satsuma mandarin and the ichang papeda. The peel is thick and pebbly with lots of oil glands. The fruit is forest green and matures to sunshine yellow when ripened. There’s very little juice and lots of seeds inside.
It’s prized in East Asian cuisine for its highly aromatic zest and floral juice. It’s also an expensive fruit so consider yourself lucky if you can find it fresh!
What Does It Taste
The juice tastes like a blend of sour, sweet, and floral flavors mixed with notes of lime, grapefruit, and mandarin. The taste is more complex than the juice of lemon or lime.
How To Use
The Japanese use the citrus in many savory and sweet foods. Use the juice in sauces, dressings, marinades, and cocktails. The Japanese use the juice to make ponzu, a citrusy umami-rich dipping sauce.
Check out these yuzu products to add that zesty floral flavors to your cooking.
Yuzu Extract /Juice
Drizzle yuzu extract on grilled fish or meat for a refreshing palate cleanser, like how you use lemon in your cooking.
Freeze-Dried Yuzu Zest
Yuzu kosho is a fiery fermented spice paste made of yuzu peel, green chili peppers, and salt. It is a condiment for hot pot dishes, miso soup, sashimi, and sauce/seasonings/dressings.
Read more about yuzu kosho here.
Yuzu Tea (Yuja Cha, Citron Tea)
Dissolve a few spoonfuls of yuzu marmalade to make yuzu tea, a sweet and citrusy non-caffeinated tea. It’s rich in vitamin C and citric acid, an excellent cold remedy.
How To Choose The Best
Pick fruits that are fresh-looking, aromatic, and blemish-free. It should feel slightly spongy when pressed as it doesn’t contain much juice like lemons.
Green yuzu is unripened, and extremely firm with a tiny amount of juice. It has a more refreshing and sharp aroma than when ripened.
How To Store
To store, you can put it in a paper bag and keep it in the refrigerator for two weeks. To extend its storage, thickly peel the zest into sections, wrap them in plastic wrap then store them in a zip lock bag. Extract the juice and freeze in ice trays. You can also freeze the whole fruit and grate it frozen to use.
Where To Buy
You can find many yuzu products listed above at Japanese, Korean, and Asian grocery stores and specialty food stores.
You can even grow it in your garden! I have been growing my yuzu tree for a few years.
You could use Meyer lemons for similar fragrant citrus fruit.
Yuzu is an excellent source of vitamin C, which helps boost the immune system and promote collagen. It also contain carotenoids, flavonoids, and limonoids, antioxidants, which may improve blood flow, fight cancer cells, and promote heart health.
The aroma may also have some benefits when used in aromatherapy. Studies have shown that it can lower tension, anxiety, anger, and fatigue and improve concentration, productivity, and energy levels.