Thought to originate in central China before being brought to Japan over 1,000 years ago, yuzu is a funny little citrus fruit. Its flesh isn’t eaten often, but the juice and rind show up frequently in Japanese cooking.
Yuzu fruits look kind of like a cross between a small grapefruit and a lemon, but don’t expect them to taste like either! Their taste is hard to precisely describe – our best attempt is “if an orange was lighter and more floral, but also more tart, with a smidge of grapefruit complexity thrown in.” The zest is particularly pungent.
A common use for yuzu is to combine it with soy sauce to make ponzu, a dipping sauce, but its usage spans across all sorts of foods: vinegars, marinades, marmalades, flavoring for baked goods and sweets, alcoholic drinks, syrups, and more. Really, the only limit to yuzu’ culinary uses is your imagination! At Uwajimaya, you can find whole yuzu fruits in the produce section and yuzu juice in the sauce aisle. (Fresh Yuzu is typically available October-December)