Origin / growing area
Although the yuzu (or Citrus junos) has been very popular in Japan (where it is cultivated), China and Korea for many years, it is still an insider tip in Europe. The yuzu is probably the product of a cross between two wild varieties of citrus fruit introduced by the Chinese in the central Yangtze Delta thousands of years ago.
The yuzu is a descendent of sour tangerines and Ichang lemons. It grows on relatively frost-resistant trees that reach heights of up to two-and-a-half metres. Several different types are known to exist, including large- and narrow-leafed and broad- and narrow-winged varieties.
Because the yuzu yields only a small amount of juice, the juice is quite valuable. It is used in Asia as a spice, in teas or as a remedy for colds in baths. Yuzu also plays an important role in East Asian religious customs. Historical records from the 17th century cite instances of the therapeutic use of yuzu in Japan. Cut into sections and pickled, it is said to help relieve the pain of cracked skin and drive out evil spirits with its fragrance.
Yuzu fruits resemble small oranges or tangerines. They have a similar golden-yellow colour and a bumpy surface. They grow to about the size of a tennis ball and weigh roughly 100 grams. They vary in shape from round to slightly flattened. Each fruit contains roughly 40 large seeds.
The flesh of the yuzu has a rather sour taste and an unusually intense aroma which, though reminiscent of limes, is enhanced by a slightly bitter note. Because of its intense flavour, just a few drops of the juice are enough to add a refining touch to foods and sauces. The zest from the highly aromatic peel is also used by many cooks.