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Dec 6, 2000 12:44 PM

Curious about Buddha's fingers...

  • t

Can you eat these? I'm referring to a lemon yellow colored fruit (?) that kind of does look like a hand (more or less). The palm of it is about the size of a lemon to an orange and then it has these fleshy shoots coming out of the palm that is supposed to be reminiscent of fingers, a la Buddha's fingers.

I've seen these only a few times now and have been curious about them. I was in Whole Foods over the weekend where they had a few for display. Two other people were admiring them with me and they said that they keeps them in the house during the holidays only because of the perfume they emit. They had never eaten one though.

I was also at the flower market where there were a lot of garlands, poinsettias, etc for holiday decorating. The Buddha's fingers were there as well, presumably for decoration purposes.

Is this a fruit? Can you eat it? If so, how and what does it taste like?

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  1. Buddha's Fingers (a.k.a. Buddha's Hand or Fingered Citron) are a type of citron mostly used for display (pricey!). You can use the peel for many of the same dishes you'd use a citron in, like marmalade, but there's not much flesh there to speak of.

    Sometimes Buddha's Fingers are given as a temple offering in Japan/China. In Japan in the winter, some families throw a whole citron in the bath (like a hot tub -- wash your body before getting into the bath) for the lovely citrus aroma it give the bath. I suppose you could do the same thing with post-prime Buddha's Fingers after using as a centerpiece or other decoration.

    Link follows.



    3 Replies
    1. re: Deb H.

      Here's a link Ive given before to a great source of dwarf citrus plants, including buddha's hand. I have one at home (inside now - outside summer), so far only blooms, no fruit set, but I'm a terribly neglectful gardener! Citrus plants are extremely tough and hardy, but they are year round growers that requires a steady supply of water and fertilizer to thrive, as well as some attention to pest control (scale). For a lousy gardener like me, a better plant from this nursery is the citrus hystrix (the lime leaf used in s.e. asian cuisine) its a lovely plant, and leaves are easier to bring forth than fruit.

      I'll keep my eye out for buddhas hand in the markets - Ive never seen it in NY but this is the season for citrons...

      1. re: jen kalb

        Thanks for shedding light on this fruit for me. They did have a lovely smell so I may buy some when I go to the flower market again this weekend. Cheers!

        1. re: Tida

          I noticed that Joyce Goldstein's cookbook, Cucina Ebraica, has a Sephardic Italian recipe for risotto with citron that called for Buddha's fingers. She did have a note about the irony of this . . .

          This is a wonderful cookbook, btw, bought it last week off the remainder table at Books, Inc. on Chestnut after admiring it for a couple years.