Buddha's Hand Citron
Citrus medica var. sarcodactylis
The Buddha's Hand Citron is by far one of the most peculiar looking pieces of produce at Murray Family Farms. You're going to learn all about it's history, its uses, and everything else you could possibly need to blow the socks off everyone at your next meal.
Pictured here is a traditional Citron. Significantly more boring than their fingered bretheren, but still pretty good.
What's a Citron?
Citron is a variety of Lemon that has barley any juice on the inside. What makes the Buddha's hand is completely unique in that it has absolutely no juice on the inside! Oh, and the tentacles at the end. Those too.
Buddha's Hand hold a significant place in Buddhism, where it is considered an exceptional offering in temples, and used during special occasions such as New Years in China. Buddha's hands in which the fingers are closed are considered auspicious, as they resemble praying hands, but even when the fingers are open it is a sign of good times! The Chinese saying, Yellow generates Yin and Yang implies it encourages balance, and thus is exceptionally esteemed. If that isn't enough It's Chinese name "Fo Shou" sounds like “fortune” (fo) and “longevity” (shou)!
Objects formed in the shape of a Buddha's hand were favored by Chinese dignitaries and are still highly sought after at auctions. In Japan the citron remains regarded as an accouterments of tea-ceremony masters for its unique properties and prestigious place in society.
How to Eat
While the Buddha's hand has no juice, the fruit remains edible in it's own right. The yellow skin is bitter, while the white pith is pleasent and mild with a flavor that recalls the union of a cucumber and a grapefruit.
The Pith contains assorted flavonoids, which have some ability to reduce carbohydrate absorption from the intestinal tract, possibly reducing rapid rises in blood sugar after eating. This could have some beneficial effect on weight management and metabolic syndrome, a combination of risk factors for stroke, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.
As liqueur or Tea
Citron Sun-Tea is an absolute delight, made simply by placing citron within water and resting it in direct sunlight creating a rich and bold flavor That presents a familiar mystery with a wall at the finish, where its astringency creates mouth feel and ends with the sensation of citrus. When Bottled in Vodka with sugar it becomes Buddhacello, a delicious and exotic beverage easily made at home.
Candied, or in Salad.
The Buddha's Hand, when sliced and dipped in simple syrup becomes a tempting sour candy when dried. When the yellow skin is removed, it can be sliced with a potato peeler to add a gratifying and refreshing crunch that balks everyday carrot solutions.
Citronella is a natural Insecticide.
Familiar with Citronella candles? the oil from Buddha's Hand has been registered as a safe plant based insect repellent since 1948, working on everything from flies and mosquitoes to even lice. Most of those fancy candles are simply citronella infused candles, but especially effective when applied directly to the skin !
Natural Perfume or Room Freshener
The Buddha's Hand exhudes extremely fragrant oil that makes it commonplace in perfumes and potpourri. The acidity and unique properties of the oil cancel out other negative scents like carbon dioxide and lactic acid in humans, making it's lemon scent even more pronounced.
Effective Cleaner and Antibacterial.
Proven to have strong antifungal and antibacterial properties, citronella can help clean any home surface without the need for harsh chemicals. Because of its compounds, including methyl isoeugenol, it’s effective for reducing food-born pathogens and even dangerous bacteria. This thing is so useful it's silly!
It's oil enhances penetration of skin and speeds up wound healing, this is thanks to it's strong antifungal and antibacterial qualities that clean pores, making it beneficial for remedying acne and healing age spots.
Use responsibly! (Seriously!)
The oil from the Citron is extremely effective, and its effects can even be felt from skin contact. It has a mild muscle relaxing effect that can cause increased heart rate in those especially sensitive. Pregnant woman may find their skin is too sensitive for the powerful oils of the fruit.