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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Buddha's Hand - You Had Me At Longevity

One of the coolest things about working for the greatest produce company in the world ( is that my culinary creativity is constantly challenged to come up with delicious, unique ways to use some of Mother Nature's most extraordinary fruits and vegetables. 

A fairly new item is Green Buddha's Hand, sibling to the Yellow Buddha's Hand which has been seen in these parts for a few years now.  Originally from northeastern India and carried by Buddhist Monks to China, this remarkable looking and unbelievably fragrant fruit now also grows right here in coastal California.

Don't let the gnarly "fingers" scare you off from this most unusual fruit.  While this is definitely not your mama's citron - no actual fruit or juice inside - it's the amazing zest and peel that is used in baking, flavoring spirits, and pretty much added to anything where a citrus-flavor and scent would be welcome, that makes this fruit so highly treasured..

Buddha's Hand offers not only wonderful flavor and fragrance, but it's prized in many cultures as a symbol of good fortune, prosperity, happiness, and longevity.  Lots of reasons to get out some bottles and canning jars to whip up a couple of simple recipes to share some good fortune.

Two Hands - Two Recipes!

Buddha's Hand Vodka 
1 Buddha's Hand                                                   
medium sized glass bottles (about 12 oz. size)

Cut strips of the Buddha's Hand skin - some pith is fine because it's usually not bitter like lemons.
Put about 6-7 strips in each bottle, fill with vodka, then close up the bottles.
Store for at least 1 month in a cool, dark place.
Make these soon so they'll be ready for holiday gift giving.

Buddha's Hand Marmalade
(3 half-pint jars)
1 Buddha's Hand
4 cups water
3 cups sugar
juice of 1/2 a lemon

Dice the Buddha's hand skin and a little pith.  Place in a heavy pot with the water and let soak at least 1 hour.
Turn on the burner to high heat until the mixture is boiling.  Continue boiling for 30 minutes. 
Add the sugar and stir to dissolve.  Boil gently for an additional 45 minutes.
Add the lemon juice to the mixture and continue boiling another 10 minutes.
Fill sterilized jars with the mixtures, seal, and place in a water bath for 10 minutes.
Remove to your counter and let sit overnight. 
I'm thinking that I should have left more pith on the peel, or added some conventional citrus because the concoction is on the runny side so not so much the consistency for spreading on a scone.  But I know it will make a delicious glaze or syrup, and I can confirm it was delicious in my Earl Grey this morning.



  1. What an interesting marmalade recipe--seems much simpler than many I've seen. Yakir's mother used to make marmalade from the fruit of their etrog (citron) tree and I guess this might be somewhat similar. Sounds wonderful in tea. Might be nice drizzled over oatmeal!

  2. Yes, much simpler/quicker than traditional marmalade recipes. There isn't as much bitterness and the peel isn't as thick as oranges and other citrus. Good idea for dressing up oatmeal - I think maybe a breakfast couscous would be even better.

  3. I am a sucker for funny-looking fruit - can't wait to get my hands on one of these (no pun intended)!

  4. Breakfast couscous--what a great idea! Hope maybe you'll do a post on it sometime.