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Has anyone used the buddha's hand fruit?

Our coop just started carrying what they call "Buddha's hand." It looks like a yellow hand or maybe more like an octopus with yellow tentacles. If you scratch it just a bit it's very fragrant. Supposed to be a source for homemade citron. Our coop started stocking them right before the holidays as something exotic. They are fairly large but also very expensive. (About $19 for one.) It would probably make sense to share one of these with someone or use them for gifts.

Has anyone used these at all? What are good uses for citron that are not too sweet?

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  1. I thought of buying one - for use as a center piece and conversation item. It is mostly skin and pith, so you would be using it mainly for the fragrance.

    I have vague memory of someone using it on a recent Iron Chef America episode, though all that comes to mind is slices of the 'fingers'.

    paulj

    2 Replies
    1. re: paulj

      I just saw some in the grocery store for the first time today. It seems that the fruit is mostly good for impersonating lemon zest, and as an air freshener. Hence, I think I might hang one from the rearview mirror in my Beetle. If I don't get a ticket or get accused of hanging someones hand from my mirror, then it should make my car smell great! Maybe it would also make people less likely to want to break into my car. ,)

      1. re: lisanaillon

        HA!!! I will think of this the next time I see these at the coop!

    2. Here is a link to a good recipe for candied buddha's hand citron:

      http://www.sanfranciscofoodie.com/scr...

      I've made marmalade from buddha's hand using a standard orange marmalade recipe (I think it was from JofC). I cut the fruit into quarters and grated on a coarse grater, holding the base end of the fruit. Since buddha's hand contains no juice to speak of, I used grapefruit and lemon juice.

      I've had limoncello made with buddha's hand, but I didn't make it. I would guess that you could sub it for lemon in any limoncello recipe.

      5 Replies
      1. re: Non Cognomina

        I made some "buddhacello," and yes, I just used a limoncello recipe and substituted the buddha's hand zest for the lemon zest in the recipe. It turned out pretty well -- it has a very distinct aroma. (My sister may have further comments, since I gave her a bottle for Christmas.) The basic recipe (adapted from a recipe I found here: http://hedonia.seantimberlake.com/hed...) is:

        about a quarter cup of grated citron zest
        1 750 ml bottle of 100 proof vodka
        2 cups sugar
        2.5 cups water

        Put zest and vodka in a glass container, cover tightly, and let steep for about two weeks. When time is up, make a syrup using the sugar and water. While it's cooling, strain solids out of vodka using a fine mesh strainer. Then strain again through cloth. (Note: cheesecloth is too coarse; I used rags torn from an old white cotton bed sheet. Be sure to wet the cloth before you start. This step can take a while, but it's worth it to get all the sediment out.) Add about half the sugar syrup to the infused vodka, taste, and keep adding until it tastes sweet enough to you (traditional limoncello is quite sweet, but yours doesn't have to be). Pour into pretty bottle(s) (e.g. the final container) and age for another two weeks.

        You can use this recipe to make liqueur from just about any citrus fruit, but you might want to increase the amount of zest for less aromatic fruits such as tangerines.

        1. re: jlafler

          It's delicious -- it does have a distinct, floral aroma and flavor.

          1. re: jlafler

            We grow Buddha Hand, and I've made Buddhacello. I separated the zest from the pith and infused them separately (to see how the pith portion tasted) in Everclear for a long time. The pith infusion tasted good, so I combined them. The resulting Buddhacello is flowery and wonderful. The next time, I'll just grate up the whole hand, and not worry about limiting it to the zest.

            After infusing, I took the left-over pulps (both zest and pith) and pureed them. I pressed out any remaining alcohol for the Buddhacello , and use the pulp for other things, like a marmalade or to add a citrus note to baking, salsas, sauces, etc.

              1. re: smash

                I saw the Buddha Hand once and would like to grow it. Any tips on how to grow it? Any ideas where to get it?
                Thanks!
                Rick

          2. I only became familiar with Buddha's hand through Hangar One Vodka. They have a variety called Buddha's Hand and it is my favorite "citron" vodka. I have never used one in cooking.

            1. The wiki article says the pith is not bitter, so sections can be use whole or diced like zest to add flavor and aroma. In Asia it is used for its perfume. Another article says limited pulp is quite acid.
              paulj

              "You don't really want to cook with this thing. Use it as a centerpiece to perfume a room, astound the mailman or scare small animals and children."
              http://www.post-gazette.com/food/2003...

              3 Replies
              1. re: paulj

                You really DO want to cook with this thing, actually.
                Shave it for salads, add it to anything lemon(think, Shaker Lemon Pie), put it up in vodka(thank you, Hangar One), marmalade, tagines, candied peel. All these things and more.
                It is delicious, rare and special. Use it for decoration, but then cook with it, please!

                1. re: rabaja

                  How well does it keep? Apart from making marmalade and candied peel, most uses only require a small part at a time.
                  paulj

                  1. re: paulj

                    you can get them in all different sizes, and they will last the longest when kept refrigerated.

              2. I saw them for the first time around Thanksgiving at our local Fresh Market. At $7 I thought it was a bit expensive; so at $19, it sounds exhorbitant. The produce manager told me they're mostly used as conversation pieces; their usage mostly as you would lemon zest.

                1 Reply
                1. re: zook

                  Buddha's hand fruit looks like a lemon that was adopted by a family of carrots and forced to grow underground. Click on image here to the left.