Buddha’s Hand Citron (fingered citron) and Finger Limes

By Susie Wyshak, Epicuring

I’m posting this as a backgrounder for anyone interested in this citrus which we recently highlighted at the St. George Spirits tasting and tour we hosted.

Buddha’s Hand Citron (fingered citron)

Grown at Lindcove Farm by John Kirkpatrick, supplier to St.George Spirits. The trees are very cold-sensitive, and require an almost frost-free location. Harvesting is tricky,because the fruits can’t be processed on a standard packing line, need to be cleaned by hand, and tend to develop mold quickly.

In China the Buddha’s Hand citron symbolizes happiness and long life, because its name, “fo-shou”, has those meanings when written with other characters. Chinese like to carry the fruit in their hands, place it on tables in their homes, and present it as a sacrificial offering at temple altars. Though esteemed chiefly for its form and aroma, the Buddha’s Hand fruit is used in recipes and is prescribed as a tonic in traditional medicine, as well as grown as an ornamental The Buddha’s
Hand was important by the 10th century A.D.. In Japan the “bushukan,” as the Buddha’s Hand citron is called, is a popular gift at New Year’s, for it is believed to bestow good fortune on a household.

Recipe Ideas for Buddha’s Hand

Zest: Add to a simple vodka, to drink within minutes or store at room temperature for an infusion. Use in a cake, icing, dark chocolate, or white chocolate. Or dehydrate for future use. Your candy: Equal parts sugar and water to a boil then simmer 1 hour or until peels are translucent. Roll in sugar and leave to dry. Keep liquid for sodas or cocktails.

Finger Limes
Finger Limes, whose juice is in caviar-like sacs, are new to the U.S. They were discovered in the Australian bush by aborigines, domesticated about 30 years ago. Shanley Farm’s first order of 600 trees was the largest the first year trees were produced in California. Their trees produced their first commercial sized crop in 2010. See a grower video by Susie of Epicuring.

Eating Ideas: Eat straight out of the fruit, use on the edge of a cocktail glass, on a vege sushi, on oyster, or to top a dessert.

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