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A sour Japanese citrus fruit about the size of a tangerine, with a thick bumpy green or orange rind. Like kaffir limes, yuzu are not eaten out of hand - they're much too sour - but the rind and juice are prized for cooking and perfumery.

The rind is very aromatic and slightly bitter; in Japan it's often simmered in clear soups to add a wonderful fragrance, or slivered and used as a garnish. Yuzu juice is used to enhance the flavour of many dishes; I recently had it with in a sauce over a delicious fusion shrimp sashimi and in a dessert soup with a semifreddo, which is how I heard of this fruit. As yuzu is only available in Japanese markets, lemons can be subsituted.

gn0sis tells me yuzu is sometimes referred to as Japanese citron.

the lemon of the gods...

Typing "yuzu" into any search engine will result in dozens of recipes and ideas for the kitchen. It's a wonderful way to liven up a vegetable dish or a soup and as a garnish, it will it leave your guests begging for more. In fact, you can even fool your guests into thinking that you have reached a whole new level of kitchen diva. But there is one other use of yuzu, however, that does not get much mention. It is well known by Japanese mothers, despised by Japanese children and esteemed by me as the one and only source of relief from the common cold.

Yuzu contains enough Vitamin C to suckerpunch any cold trying to infiltrate your body and make you miserable. Add some yuzu to a cup of tea sweetened with honey and I will just about guarantee that you will be feeling right as rain the next day. You may be able to find a yuzu/honey conconction in Asian markets outside of Japan that looks more like a marmelade than a drink. It is possible, indeed to use this as a spread on toast or bread, but you are equally justified in adding a couple spoonfulls to hot water for a soothing and immune boosting drink. Its a delicious combination of uber bitter and ultra sweet that I never tire of and usually wins against the common cold.

If you find yourself in Japan in mid to late fall, the best season for the orange coloured yuzu, you can join the locals in the preparation for the cold season. You can find yuzu in any supermarket, relatively inexpensively. Thinly slice and lay out in the sun for several days to dry. At this time of year, there are plates full of the drying yuzu almost everywhere you look, from the rooftops of traditional wooden houses in the countryside to the narrow and cramped balconies of modern condominiums. Once dried, pack away the vitamin C infused yuzu in air tight container until you need it. When you feel a cold coming on, pull out your stock of yuzu, add a couple of discs to hot water and sweeten with honey.

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