Lemons, limes and oranges are the basic citrus you see at your local grocery store, but what about Etrog or Sudachi? Some of the more exotic citruses can be intimidating and limited, making it harder to approach. While they do seem a bit intimidating, once you find your personal favorites, going to a local grocery store and picking up yuzu for your recipe won’t seem so hard! Here is a rundown of our personal favorites between the different California citrus varieties that might help you figure out what fruit is fit for your kitchen needs!
At first glance, you might be a bit intimidated by the appearance of the Buddha’s hand, but don’t let that stop you from picking one up at the grocery store. Despite its daunting looks, in China, Buddha’s hand is actually a symbol of happiness, longevity and good fortune. In terms of culinary uses, Buddha’s hand is most commonly used for its zest due to the fact that it has zero flesh within the fruit. Perfect for decorative purposes or given as “good fortune” gifts, Buddha’s hand is one of those fruits you must buy and try because of its unique traits.
Similar to its citron sibling, the Buddha’s hand, Etrog is thick-skinned and most commonly used for its rind. However, Etrog does have a bit of flesh within the chunky pith that surrounds the entire fruit. In the Jewish culture, Etrog is mostly used for traditional religious reasons, but many have started finding creative ways to utilize the fruit aside from just zesting the skin. Common recipes will candy the Etrog pith for decoration or create Etrog liquor from the zest of the fruit. Whether you’re using Etrog for religious uses or to add the perfect decoration to a dish, this citrus does a great job at adding a nice touch of lemony flavor and aroma wherever it is utilized.
Finger limes are exactly what they sound like. Limes that are the shape of a finger. These fun fruits are showcased most as a garnish. The inside of finger limes also catches the attention of many due to the perfect juicy pearls within the skin. These tiny pearls are commonly used for garnishing and sprinkling over salads, bowls, or even over fruits like avocados and melons. In addition to fresh dishes, finger limes are great with seafood dishes, as well as cocktails such as mojitos and margaritas. If you’re looking for the perfect citrus garnish, finger limes could be your best option due to the tangy flavor and aesthetically pleasing ‘citrus caviar’ that sits pretty as a pearl.
Kieffer limes have a very interesting exterior covering its flesh. The bumpy skin makes this citrus fruit look like it came straight out of a cartoon! However, despite the outside, the inside of Kieffer limes look similar to a regular lime. The difference has to be the aroma of a Kieffer lime being more floral than other citrus and having a stronger sour flavor. Commonly used in Thai, Cambodian and Indonesian cooking, Kieffer lime zest is great in curries and even used for cleaning. While Kieffer limes look similar to Western limes, if you’re looking for extra tang with a kick, you won’t want to substitute these limes for any other!
First reactions to pink lemons might include confusion with a bit of intrigue. The green striped skin of a pink lemon creates the impression that this fruit is a hybrid between lemon and lime, but once cut open, you’ll see exactly why they’re called pink lemons. These lemons taste similar to the traditional lemon flavor with less acid and more floral tones. Not only are pink lemons a perfect culinary tool, but they also serve as a beautiful backdrop for savory dishes when cut into thin round slices. Whether you’re trying to make the perfect pink lemonade or garnish a dish, pink lemonades always add an extra element of flavor and aesthetics.
Pucker your lips up for this one! Sudachi fruit is one of the sourest citrus varieties out there. This distinct Japanese citrus is often used as a substitute for vinegar due to its uniquely sour juice. Most commonly used in dressings, sauces and marinades, Sudachi is also great for savory dishes, as well as desserts. Not only is Sudachi a great addition to various types of dishes, it is also perfect in alcoholic beverages, juices, sodas and flavored water. Sudachi is also known for a number of health benefits like blocking free radicals, diminishing pollen allergies, increasing the body’s ability to absorb calcium, and many more! If you’re looking for an intense kick of citrus, look no further because Sudachi will be your go-to.
Similar to Sudachi, Yuzu is a one of a kind citrus fruit that has a burst of tang. The unique mix of citrus flavors is similar to a combination of lemon, lime, grapefruit and tangerine! You can do almost anything with Yuzu due to its incredibly fragrant juice and zest. Perfect for cocktails, salad dressings, marinades and baking, Yuzu is a great culinary appliance to keep in your kitchen! Aside from its culinary uses, Yuzu is a great source of vitamin c and has three times the amount that lemons do. Finding Yuzu in its natural state within the United States is a rare occasion, so if you come across this special citrus, don’t pass it up!