Just in time for Halloween, we present this delightfully odd citrus fruit known as Buddha’s hand (or fingered citron, or bushukan in Japanese).
Buddha’s hand is believed to have originated in northeastern India or China. The squid-like fruit grows on small trees covered in thorns, and the fruits are usually between six and 12 inches long. Unlike other citrus fruits, Buddha’s hand contains little or no pulp or juice, consisting mainly of white pith. Unlike in oranges and grapefruits, the pith of the Buddha’s hand is not bitter, meaning you can eat the entire fruit whole when raw.
The fruit is prized for its remarkably strong citrus scent, and as such, it is often used in China or Japan as a perfume for clothing or entire rooms. In China, Buddha’s hand sometimes symbolizes happiness and longevity, and it is often used as a religious offering at temples.
The fragrant zest of Buddha’s hand also makes a great addition to recipes calling for a strong, fresh citrus flavor. The peel can also be candied to make a marmalade-like citrus sweet treat. It also adds a bright citrus accent to cakes, pies, salads, and even mixed drinks!
Check out these delicious Buddha’s hand recipes:
Buddha’s hand is hard to come by in most American grocery stores, but you can order them online.
Have you ever tried Buddha’s hand? What did you think? Tell us in the comments!