6 Exotic Citrus Fruits That Are Really Worth Trying
You know all about limes, oranges, grapefruits, and lemons, but have your met their more exotic cousins? Here are a few to look for next time you're browsing the produce aisle.
1. Finger limes
Grown primarily in Australia and California, these microcitrus aren't actually limes. They have edible peels like kumquats and are filled with plump, spherical pulp (sometimes referred to as "citrus caviar") that bursts in your mouth with an intense flavor that tastes like lime with a hint of grapefruit and something floral. Squeeze out the pulp for a tasty garnish on salads and desserts. Look for them in the refrigerated produce section.
Think of these adorable minis as inside-out citrus fruit: Their juice is sour, and their peels are sweet. Popular in Asia and grown in California and Florida, the bite-sized fruits can be cut into thin slices for eye-catching garnishes or candied for marmalade. For a snack, cut them in half, squeeze out the sour juice and seeds, and pop the rest into your mouth. Try this refreshing recipe for Kumquat Salad.
3. Ugli Fruit
They look like grapefruit that are having a bad day, but their wrinkled, loose-fitting skins make them easy to peel and segment. These surprisingly sweet fruits are grown in Jamaica, and you can use them anywhere where you would use oranges or sweet tangerines.
4. Kaffir Lime
The juice and flesh aren't edible, but the leaves and rind are prized in Asian cuisines. Much like bay leaves in Western dishes, kaffir leaves and rind strips often are added to Asian soups and curries to impart a bright and slightly floral citrus fragrance and flavor. The fruit (also known as makrut lime) can be hard to find, but look for the leaves, fresh or frozen, at Asian markets. This recipe for Thai Hot and Sour Soup includes kaffir lime leaves in the mix.
Japanese yuzu (also called yuja in Korea look like small, bumpy oranges and range in color from yellow to mottled green to orange. Though they are edible and sold fresh in Japan, you'll typically find only their juice sold in American stores (look for 3- to 12-ounce bottles in the Japanese food section or among cocktail mixers). The juice, tart like lime but with a slightly floral/ rose water backdrop, often provides the tartness in Japanese ponzu sauce. Here's how to use yuzu peel to make Zoni, a traditional Japanese soup.
6. Buddha's Hand
This multi-fingered citrus is often given as a gift in Asia and used mostly as an aromatic centerpiece. Big and waxy, it looks like something you might find growing on a coral reef. It's a hybridized citron, one of the original citrus fruits that gave rise to lemons. It has no juice or flesh, just mild pith and lots of peel. Though it usually isn't eaten, it can be sliced and candied.