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When you see a buddha’s hand citron fruit for the first time you may wonder, how in the world do I eat this beautiful thing? The buddha’s hand fruit has out-of-this-world flavor reminiscent of citron crossed with lemon and yuzu, and is surprisingly easy to prepare!
Also known as the finger citron, Buddha’s hand is named for its unique shape that resembles the way fingers and hands look in a prayer position. Both the thin peel and dense pith of the buddha’s hand are edible. They’re seedless, which makes for much easier slicing!
Buddha’s hand can be eaten raw, and is often used for its flavorful peel that contains concentrated, flavorful essential oils. Inside, the dense pith is firm, crunchy and has a delightfully sweet flavor that you’d never expect from citrus fruit pith. Unlike other citrus fruits, buddha’s hand’s pith is sweet and crunchy, not tough and bitter.
They may not be juicy, but that doesn’t stop buddha’s hand citron from being incredibly delicious and useful in the kitchen. Zest or shave it into salads, cook it into candies and jams, and infuse almost any beverage with its aromatic, lemony flavor. Some of the most common preparations of buddha’s hand are raw uses like zesting, concentrated into a sweet marmalade-like tea, and cooked with sugar for sour candies. Use it in just about any recipe that calls for citrus zest for a new take on classic favorites.
Here are the most common ways for preparing buddha's hand for just about any recipe.
This fruit may look strange at first, but it’s incredibly easy to slice with a sharp knife. Here are some of the easiest, most common ways of how to slice a buddha's hand:
- With the fruit placed firmly on a cutting board, slice the buddha's hand in half longways from the top of the fruit to the fingers. Then, placing the flat side down, slice the fruit in half again to make quarters. Separate the fingers from the base of the fruit to chop separately into the size your recipe requires.
- To separate the zest from the fruit, use a sharp paring knife or vegetable peeler for curls, or a fine microplane for grated zest.
Cooking buddha’s hand changes its flavor and texture in delicious ways! The whole fruit is edible in its raw state, but is usually enjoyed in ways that allow it to impart it’s unique and potent flavor into dishes and drinks. Here are some of the most common ways to cook this versatile specialty fruit:
- Baking: Buddha's hand can stand in for lemon in all kinds of desserts and baked dishes. Use its zest and flesh in cakes, cookies, pastries, creams and pies.
- Confection: The complex floral citrusy flavor of buddha's hand is delicious in jams, jellies and candy making. In fact, this citron shines in sweet treats because of the way it balances the fruit’s pleasant bittersweetness.
- Sauces, Dressings and Dips: Wake up your favorite accoutrements with the unique citrusy flavor of buddha’s hand. So aromatic that it’s prized in perfumery, buddha’s hand is sure to add new dimension to recipes you love.
- Soups and Curries: Brothy or creamy, a little bit of buddha’s hand will add fragrant citrus flavor to warm, comforting foods.
Zested, syruped or infused, buddha’s hand brightens up beverages! Buddha’s hand can be used fresh or cooked to flavor cocktails, juices, even hot water. The zest and sweet, edible pith adds out of this world, citrusy flavor to drinks of all kinds. Some of the most popular ways to drink buddha’s hand are infused into spirits, concentrated into a tea that resembles marmelade, cooked into a rich syrup or steeped in hot water.
Here are some easy ways use buddha's hand in your drinks:
- Juicing: Even though buddha’s hand does not have juicy pulp, it’s possible to process in an electric juicer for very concentrated flavor. Add buddha's hand to fresh juices from other produce like pear, pineapple, strawberry, watermelon, ginger, kale, spinach and cucumber.
- Tea: Cook chopped buddha’s hand with sugar and water until it forms a concentrated, jam-like consistency. Add a hefty tablespoon of the concentrated fruit to hot water for an invigorating tea. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three weeks.
- Cocktails: Infuse liquor and spirits with Buddha’s hand, grate it over cocktails or add curls of zest to drinks.
Buddha’s hand is a hearty fruit that can withstand time on the countertop (and you’ll love the fragrance!). Store your buddha’s hand citron fruits at room temperature for up to two weeks. In the refrigerator, buddha’s hand will stay fresh for up to four weeks. For even longer enjoyment of your buddha’s hand, freeze whole or in portions for up to three months.
Do you feel like a buddha's hand expert now? Show us your favorite ways to prepare and eat buddha's hand by tagging us in your culinary masterpieces on Instagram @Fruitstandcom!