It seems that once Americans fall in love with something, it goes from being unknown to found practically on every street corner. A wine example: Chardonnay. But now, from Japan, a land known for its curious and distinct products, we have their special citrus, Yuzu. Yuzu, known as citrus junos, is mainly used in the West as a citrus tree rootstock. The tree is very thorny, with long, very sharp thorns, making fruit picking a delicate job. But Yuzu products are now found in all of the hot places–including Corti Brothers.
I have a yuzu tree growing in my yard. I use the fruit to flavor vodka, put in drinks, and to offer as gifts to Japanese friends. Highly aromatic, yuzu is also very tart and can be bitter, in the “Bitter Lemon” style of tonic water. Now several importers are bringing in yuzu products.
Most yuzu in Japan is grown on the southernmost island of the archipelago, Kyushu, where a savory condiment typical of Kyushu called yuzu kosho (or gosho) is made from green or ripe yuzu peel, mixed with green or red chile peppers, salt, mirin, and sometimes sake lees to ferment a bit. It is aged usually for a year before using and is a wonderful condiment for noodles, chicken, pork, even beef.
Yuzu juice is pressed from the fruit and sold for making drinks or using in mixed drinks. When put with soy sauce it creates another sauce called yuzu ponzu, which elegantly combines the sharp yuzu flavor with the more mellow shoyu flavor, producing a marvelous harmony. Ponzu is put into myriad dishes where both a sharpness and “umami” taste is wanted.
In our Fall 2009 Newsletter, I wrote about the Yakami Orchard products. Now I would like to introduce you to another yuzu producer, Yuzu Passion.
Yuzu Passion is produced in Kito, Japan and offers some different yuzu based products.
Both of the conserves can be used as they are with morning toast, for example. Or they could be used as a topping for complementary ice creams (vanilla, lemon, or sorbets.) The Yuzu Soy sauce is marvelous on fish, chicken, vegetables or as an ingredient in a dressing. The Yuzu juice and cocktail mixes can be left to your imagination.
During warm weather, the sharpness given by citrus relieves the sensation of heat and just maybe yuzu-ade could be the successor to lemonade! Since the flavor of yuzu is a dominant one, a 500ml bottle of the mixes, makes about 20 servings. You might want to try the Yuzu Passion products just to see how pleasant they are. Your summer will be enhanced and you will be entranced.
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