Late November / early December is the harvest of the yuzu, a type of citrus fruit. The yuzu is a hybrid, a cross between the sour mandarin (Citrus reticulata) and the Ichang papeda (Citrus ichangensis). The size ranges from the golf ball size (photo above) to grapefruit size (photo below). It has a tart taste and is used as a seasoning like lemon juice or the zest is used in many recipes. It can also be used to flavor vinegar or honey or fermented into an alcoholic drink on its own. It is unique in the citrus world in that it is frost tolerant and quite hardy.
The fruit is also one of the symbols of our suburb of Minoh. The city has adopted the fruit as its mascot, the cute Yuzuru, the samurai with a tender heart. (below) The Japanese love mascots, as comedian John Oliver describes in this excerpt from his show. He is seen everywhere and he even has the bumpy skins of the yuzu.
We have some around the house this week and I’ll try to use them and see what they taste like.