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Jun 18, 2006 07:18 PM

Does anyone know about YUZU JUICE?

  • l

We were served chilled YUZU JUICE (non-alcoholic) at Sushi Zo in Los Angeles -- at the end of the meal. Our chef -- and the owner -- was very secretive about it. It was heavenly, with just the perfect citrus-sweet balance.
Can this be purchased in The States? Where? What is it called?

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  1. Ask on the Los Angeles board. I learned recently that yuzu is just citron.

    Supposedly it can be bought at any large Japanese market or even some regular supermarkets in the U.S. It is in the refigerator case from my understanding

    In fact, you can buy the fruit itself if it isn't out of season. It doesn't have a lot of juice though.

    Ironically I found there is a small tree of it growing in my backyard. My S/O thought they were lemons and was wondering what was wrong with them.

    This link is to the Cook's Thesaurus



    12 Replies
    1. re: rworange

      rworange -- thanks! I will look for it in our local Japanese markets. I have purchased yuzu paste, but it is spicy, not sweet, and includes a pepper mixture. The juice that we had was very refreshing.

      I appreciate the photo you sent. We also have a citrus tree that I think has crossed with something else...we have other citrus nearby; the fruit has a very "off" flavor and the fruits that we thought were lemons are a little orange-ish in color. How do you know that you have a citron tree?

      1. re: liu

        Because I actually went out of my way a few weeks before to seek out citron at my local farmers market.

        So when Roberto said he thought we had a lemon tree (rather a bush that has been neglected along the fence), but that something was wrong with it, when I cut into it ... yep ... same taste, same aroma, same look. There were only a few on the bush though.

        Really weird why someone planted this as it is a very Latino neighborhood. The closest we have to an Asian population is Thai. So it is a mystery.

        My understanding is that the bottled stuff if it has preseravtives in it can be be like buying bottled lemon juice with that fake taste to it. So hopefully someone in your area knows a good brand ... or maybe someone has a good mail order source.

        1. re: rworange

          What we had at the sushi bar was a clear liquid, as smooth as a high-end plum wine or a lychee drink. While it was not sugary sweet, it was better than dessert! I am really motivated to search our markets, although the sushi chef seemed to indicate that I would not find it.

      2. re: rworange

        Yuzu is not simply citron, as we find out from the thread linked below. Yuzu is a specific type of citron, and there are very few domestic growers. There are probably other types of citrons on the market, but they're probably not yuzu. Last I saw in LA and in NY, the price of yuzu (in season) were anywhere between $3-$5 for one. So, if your tree really is yuzu, you might have a small treasure.


        1. re: Eric Eto

          It's yuzu.

          You know that saying, if life gives you lemons, make lemonade. I'm the polar opposite. When life gives me lemonade, I turn it back into lemons.

          Instead of being thrilled to have a yuzu bush, I was really annoyed since I had just spent a boatload of money on a few at Hamada. OTOH, I never would have knew it was a yuzu otherwise.

          But then again, who knows. Other than having it in restuarnts, this was my first time up close and personal with a yuzu. For all I know the couple I bought at Hamada were really citron, though they were labeled yuzu and $$$. And the SF Gate article says Hamada sells real yuzu.

          I have to find out which bush that was. We also have some little tiny peaches out there. Who knows if they are some boutique variety or not.

          Just how close is the taste of citron to yuzu? My citron experience to date has to do with the yucky candied stuff in fruitcake and a jar of marmelade ... which is what led me to seeking out the fresh version because that marmelade was so good.

          1. re: rworange

            If it's a white peach tree back there, it's likely that a Japanese person lived there at some point and planted those items. But if the peach tree is still bearing fruit after more than, say, a decade (maybe a little more), and if the trees aren't pruned back, apparently the fruit will suffer, so maybe that's why they're small.

            Back to the original post, I also wonder if the yuzu "juice" was really the juice of the fruit or if the flavors were somehow pressed from the rinds, as the rinds are where the flavors are concentrated (as with most citrus).

            1. re: Eric Eto

              Eric -- this is a good point you have made here. So, if and when I find a "yuzu" in a market (when are they in season?), I will know that if the juice is disappointing, I may have to use the rind.
              The flavor of the juice we had in the sushi bar was distinctively yuzu -- just like the paste I have purchased, but sweet and deep with flavor.

          2. re: Eric Eto
            Robert Lauriston

            From the botanical name, it doesn't seem like yuzu (Citrus ichangensis x C. reticulata) is a type of citron (Citrus medica).

          3. re: rworange

            It's not a citron. Different species.

            1. re: Jim Leff

              Thanks for this info. It will help in my search!

              1. re: Jim Leff

                Yuzu is Citrus junos, to be exact. Citron is Citrus medica.

                1. re: Kirk

                  Thanks guys. Now I have to go chase a citron down and see the difference. What I had at both the farmers market and home was what looked like a yuzu in the link below ... the yuzu link is at the bottom of the page. It had a taste that reminded me of a bergamot. Gee, if you can't trust the mainstream press, who can you trust. The think is though, that the inside looked like that original picture from Cook's Thesaurus.


            2. Thanks to all who have offered information here. On weekends, we are all over the city of LA, so I will search our Japanese markets for both the juice and the fruit, and I will search some of our Japanese nurseries for a tree. You have given me hope!

              1. Any place that sells Yuzu Chili Paste most probably will also carry Yuzu Juice.

                7 Replies
                1. re: JBC

                  Perhaps...although they are two completely different items. The yuzu chili paste (I found several varieties at Nijiya Market on Sawtelle in West Los Angeles) is a spicy topping while the yuzu beverage is a sweet drink; the only connection is the yuzu. I just don't know...but I will try Nijiya Market -- as you have suggested, and repost if I can find it.

                  1. re: liu

                    JBC is simply saying that wherever you bought your yuzu-koshou (pepper paste with yuzu), you'll find yuzu juice that looks like the photos below. But a 3.5 oz bottle goes for $12-$20.


                    1. re: Eric Eto

                      Ohhhh...but this juice appears to be quite different from what we were served. Perhaps this one in the photo is not sweet? Is it meant to be a flavoring in cooking and not to be drunk alone? The one that we had in the sushi bar was crystal clear and sweet -- like a fine plum wine. I would, perhaps, expect to find it on the shelf near the plum wines??????

                      1. re: liu

                        Exactly my point as to why I think the drink you had was pressed or distilled from the rinds, as opposed to just the juice itself. And you say that it was non-alcoholic (or did I imagine that)? Basically, I think you're barking up the wrong tree, in that I don't think you're going to find a product on the shelves of a market. I think what you had was a homemade drink. Best bet is to go back to Sushi Zo and ask what that drink was and how it was made.

                        1. re: Eric Eto

                          I agree with Eric--I keep a bottle of yuzu juice (just like in the picture he linked above) in my refrigerator, and I use it all the time in situations where one might use bottled lemon juice--not just for Japanese food. (I think it imparts a more complex flavor than pure lemon--yuzu seems to touch more notes on the "citrus flavor spectrum" than lemons do, even the lovely fresh lemons we get off our little front-yard lemon tree.) But I don't think anyone would drink this stuff straight. Just as no one would drink bottled lemon juice in lieu of lemonade.

                          When looking for an equivalent to the drink that knocked the OP's socks off at SushiZo, seems like it would be better to try and find a source of yuzu fruit and squeeze/press it oneself.

                          1. re: PayOrPlay

                            I am laughing at your response! Yes, "knocked my socks off!" I think you are of these same stomping grounds (I have seen you post on the Southern Cal boards), so perhaps you will try Sushi Zo and see if your socks get knocked off as well!!! At least one other poster who ate there did not get served this chilled beverage at the end of the meal. Perhaps it is only a part of the "omakase" experience and the $100 that goes with it!

                          2. re: Eric Eto

                            Yes, it was NON-alcoholic; it was sweet and smooth. At the time, I did ask the sushi chef/owner about it, but he wanted to keep it to himself so that he would have something special. He nodded when we asked if it was from Japan, but I might have asked him if it was snowing in Southern California, also, and he might have given us the same response!
                            I do understand why he would want to keep this to himself, nevertheless; it makes a visit to his bar more special!

                  2. The original comment has been removed
                    1. Yuzu citrus (Citrus Junos) is native to Chinese mountains and cultivated in colder regions of Japan. It has frost freeze tolerance missing from other citrus. And huge thorns that make picking the fruit a life threatening experience. I turn to a Yuzu juiced up rice wine imported by Nishimoto trading company and called simply Yuzu Shu or Homare Junmai Yuzu Shu by Homare Sake Brewery. It is very fresh tasting and the Yuzu is preserved with alcohol instead of salt and vinegar although it should be kept refrigerated and used within 2 weeks of opening. Great in glazes and mixed drinks too. It does not have the preserved lemon juice aftertaste of the Yuzu style Ponzu Sauces.