Top Pick Of The Week

June 7, 2011


Toast to yuzu with a yuzu martini. The rim is dipped in a mix of powdered sugar and powdered yuzu. Photo by Ilumus Photography | Fotolia.

WHAT IT IS: An Asian citrus that can be used instead of lemon, lime or grapefruit juice—to a dazzling effect.
WHY IT’S DIFFERENT: Like lemon and lime, yuzu is a sour citrus. But it’s much less tart than either, and much more complex in flavor.
WHY WE LOVE IT: To us, yuzu is the queen of sour citrus. The juice is a combination of the flavors and aromas of lemon, lime and grapefruit: glorious!
WHERE TO BUY IT: At Asian food markets, and online at Look for top brands like Yakami Orchard.

.Irresistible Yuzu: Our Favorite Citrus Fruit


CAPSULE REPORT: If you haven’t yet discovered the joys of the Asian citrus yuzu (YOO-zoo), pick up a bottle at your earliest convenience. It may well become a favorite: in sauces, beverages, desserts and any place you’d use lemon, lime or grapefruit. With all due respect to these three wonderful citrus fruits—which we  use daily—yuzu has more panache. It is a great food enhancer.

You’ll find all the different ways we use yuzu on the next page.

Yuzu has become more mainstream thanks to the availability of imported yuzu juice, embraced by fine chefs. You can find it at Asian markets, online, and sometimes at specialty retailers such as Whole Foods Market.

What Is Yuzu?

  • Yuzu is a small round citrus the the size of a key lime. Unlike the key lime, which has a smooth skin, yuzu has a textured skin similar to lemons, limes and grapefruit (see the photo of fresh yuzu below). As with other varieties of lime, the skin color ranges from yellow to yellow-green to green.
  • Yuzu is less tart than lemon or lime, and both complex and elegant in taste. You can discern a combination of grapefruit, lime, lemon and tangerine in both the flavor and aroma. The unique complexity and aroma make it irresistible.

Originating in China, yuzu (the botanical names are Citrus ichangensis x and Citrus reticulata var. austerajunos) is believed to be a hybrid of the sour mandarin orange and the Ichang papeda citrus, a primitive citrus fruit related to the kaffir lime.

Today yuzu is most widely cultivated in Japan. Fresh yuzu cannot be imported into the U.S., but it is now grown in California. The season is September to December. Look for it at at Asian markets and specialty produce purveyors.

If you can’t find fresh yuzu locally during the season, you can order it from Fresh yuzu is well worth the treat.

If you do score fresh yuzu, never discard the rind without zesting it. Yuzu zest in cocktails and savory or sweet dishes adds a dash of magic.

As  much of a treat as fresh yuzu is—replete with its heavenly, aromatic zest—bottled yuzu juice is also a luxury.

Score yourself a bottle of fresh yuzu juice and head to the next page to see what to do with it. But first, start with the article index below.

Fresh Yuzu

Photo of fresh yuzu by Tuzumi | Fotolia.

THE NIBBLE has been reviewing the finest foods in America since 2004.
Our recommendations are based purely on our opinion, after tasting thousands of products each year, that they represent the best in their respective categories. Product reviews are by a unanimous vote of our Editorial Committee. We do not accept placement fees: All products have earned their way into our webzine due to excellence.

Favorite Yuzu Products

Yuzu Juice Yuzu Marmalade Yuzu Kosho Rub

Yakami Orchard Japanese Yuzu Juice.  This juice is a treat that you can enjoy daily, and a great gift for people who love to cook and/or mix cocktails. More information.

Yakami Orchard Japanese Yuzu Marmalade. A delicious treat for much more than toast. For example, add a spoonful when you deglaze a pan to create yuzu sauce. More information.

Yakami Orchard Japanese Yuzu Kosho Rub. A mix of yuzu zest, hot chile, sea salt and kombu for meat rubs, stir frys, pasta (toss), pizza dough (spread), dressings and more. More information.


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