The mysterious Buddha’s Hand Citron is sweet and aromatic. Even though it appears like a lemon gone wild, it a completely different fruit in the Citron family. Some varieties have the aroma of lemon blossoms, while others smell more like lavender. It is sweet! It has no pulp! It is free of any juice. So now we know what it is, let’s discover the secret of how to use this mysterious fruit.
It has no pulp or juice. It looks like a lumpy lemon with fingers. It is also mostly rind. It sells in the stores around New Years in many places throughout the world. Beware, this delicacy can come with a high price tag. The Buddha’s Hand Citron usually costs around 24.00 a pound. So why is it so special? Buddha’s Hand Citron is served around New Years in Japan, China, and other Asian countries. It is believed to symbolize long life, happiness, and prosperity.
Unlike most other members of the citron family, the Buddha’s Hand Citron does not have a bitter rind. Rather, this rind is very sweet. For this reason, it candies very nicely. Buddha’s Hand Citron is usually eaten candied at Lunar New Years.
How to candy Buddha’s Hand Citron
Wash and dry the citron. Cut the citron into pieces. Put in a pan and cover with water and blanch the citron in simmering water for about 30-40 minutes. They should be translucent. Drain and use about 2 cups citron to 3 cups honey. Bring to a boil and then cook till the temp reaches 230 degrees F. If you don’t have a candy thermometer, cook until the syrup is very thick and almost gone. Be very careful not to burn the citron. Remove from heat and let the citron remain in the syrup for one to two hours. When done, strain off syrup and roll in a raw natural sugar and place on a wire rack overnight to dry. If you do not want to use right away, you can leave the citron in the syrup, and keep in the refrigerator. It will keep in the syrup for up to a year. The syrup that is drained off can be kept to flavor things like liquor or coffee. You can also pour over vanilla ice cream, plain yogurt, waffles or pancakes. Just use your imagination, you will discover many uses for the syrup.
You can store the dried citron in a jar and keep at room temperature for a few weeks. You can also keep the jar in the refrigerator and it will last several months.
Buddha’s Hand Citron is a fun fruit to work with. Google has recipes for Buddha’s Hand Good Luck Marmalade, pancakes, and even laundry soap. The uses for this wild fruit are numerous. As the Lunar New Year is approaching, Asian Markets world-wide will have these lucky fruits. As Asian cooks find the Buddha’s Hand Citron, you can be sure that it will be prepared in many ways. Make this the New Year that you take a ride on the wild side and candy up some delightful Buddha’s Hand Citron for New Years. There is nothing like a Buddha’s Hand Citron for a kitchen adventure.