Yuzu is not a new fruit, but many Americans are unfamiliar with it. If you’ve heard of yuzu but are still determining what it is, you may have noticed that it’s been appearing on menus across the United States. Yuzu is pronounced yoo-zoo. Both chefs and mixologists enjoy incorporating the fruit into cocktails, slaw, sushi, ramen, rice, and desserts. It is worthwhile to seek out Yuzu if you haven’t had the chance to do so already. This article discusses the citrus fruit’s flavor, history, and potential health benefits, as well as its availability and healthy preparations.
What is Yuzu precisely?
Yuzu is believed to be a cross between a sour mandarin orange and a citrus fruit known as Ichang papeda. Fresh yuzu is about the size of a golf ball and has green and yellow skin that is pockmarked. It is relatively juicy and has a tart, sour flavor that is more intense than that of a lemon a is also extremely fragrant, with lemon, lime, grapefruit, and lemongrass aromas. It has even been described as having a scent reminiscent of the sun.
Many believe that the fruit originated along the Yangtze River in China’s Hubei Province. Others, however, assert that it originated in Korea, was later introduced to China, and eventually made its way to Japan around a millennium ago. Yuzu is a popular acid citrus used in East Asian cuisine, and there are numerous varieties and hybrids in Japan and China.
To protect American farmers from prevalent Asian agricultural diseases, yuzu cannot be imported into the United States. However, it is now grown in California, making its sale within the United States legal. While I have never seen the fruit in a store, you may be able to locate it in an Asian supermarket. If you have difficulty locating yuzu in person, you can order it online from a US distributor. For instance, from September to December, when the fruit is in season, Melissa’s sells 8-ounce packages. (The company does note that Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, and Hawaii prohibit the shipment of citrus into their respective states.) The Japanese company Lausac also sells 100% organic yuzu juice.
Yuzu Health Benefits
1. Rich Source of Vitamins And Minerals
The US Department of Agriculture database does not include yuzu’s nutritional information, and there is little published research on the health effects of yuzu consumption in humans. Nonetheless, according to a study published in Food Reviews International, yuzu is a rich source of bioactive compounds, such as flavonoid, anthocyanin, phenolic acid, and carotenoid antioxidants, which have actions in the body that may be beneficial to health. Additionally, it’s an excellent source of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. It has been demonstrated that the fruit’s juice, peel, and seeds have anti-inflammatory, anticancer, and antimicrobial properties; prevent blood clots; and promote the formation of new blood vessels.
2. Aromatic Properties
Regarding non-edible uses, a small study published in BioPsychoSocial Medicine examined the calming effects of yuzu’s aroma. It is believed that the fruit’s essential oil influences the activity of the autonomic nervous system, which is central to the mind-body connection. To determine whether this is true, 21 women in their twenties were exposed to the scent of yuzu. Before and after the aromatic stimulation, researchers measured the volunteers’ heart rate variability, which reflects nervous system activity, and assessed the Profile of Mood States (POMS), a psychological index.
Ten minutes after inhaling yuzu, the women experienced changes, such as a significant decrease in heart rate, indicating that the fruit has an effect on the activity of the parasympathetic nervous system. The effect lasted for at least twenty-five minutes.
3. Reduces Stress and Anxiety
The POMS tests demonstrated that yuzu reduced total mood disturbance, including tension anxiety and fatigue, for up to 35 minutes. According to the study, the aromatic effects of yuzu may help alleviate negative emotional stress. It is important to note, however, that essential oils should not be used without the supervision of a healthcare professional due to the possibility of risks, side effects, and drug interactions.
How To Employ Yuzu
You can use yuzu juice and peel in a variety of recipes, and a small amount goes a long way. Due to its scarcity, I have only experimented with yuzu sporadically. But I do take advantage of every opportunity to enjoy it in restaurant dishes, cocktails, and mocktails that are expertly crafted.
The sour flavor of yuzu can be complemented by a variety of interesting ingredients, such as sweet ginger, honey, yams, and grains; salty sea vegetables and soy sauce; bitter matcha and leafy greens; and umami-rich seafood and mushrooms.
As the demand for international cuisine continues to grow, you will likely hear more about it in the coming years. This unique citrus fruit offers essential nutrients and antioxidants and is a feast for the senses. Grab it during its brief season in California, or try it as bottled juice.
- Have you ever tasted yuzu before? If so, what was your favorite yuzu-based dish or product?
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