Buddha’s hand is a captivating and curious citrus. Mystifying in it’s appearance, this gnarly-looking fruit is a joy to have in your kitchen.

What are Buddha’s Hands 

Buddha’s hand, aka fingered citron, is an unusually shaped citrus fruit. This large citron (ranging in size from 6-12 inches in length) naturally grows in such a way that the fruit segments into finger-like sections. There are two different variations of buddha’s hands. The ‘opened hand’ variety, with splayed fingers or segments, and the ‘closed hand’ variety, where the segments are grown closer together. Buddha’s hands are primarily grown in warm, temperate climates with origins in Southeast Asia. In Asia, buddha’s hands are primarily used for ornamentation or ceremonial purpose and seen as a bringer of good luck and fortune. 

Image Credit: S. Hermann & F. Richter from Pixabay 

Cooking with Buddha’s Hands

Yes, these curious-looking lemons are perfectly safe to eat. From a culinary perspective what makes buddha’s hands so attractive is their incredibly fragrant properties. Most varieties of buddha’s hand citrus do not contain pulp or juice, making their most desired attribute the firm, bright, skin. The skins or peels are ranked as some of the sweetest smelling citrus on the planet with a luscious floral-lemon scent, making them a perfect ingredient for infusing citrusy aromatics into a recipe. Beverage makers and mixologists love using buddha’s hand in cocktails, like in this recipe for a Buddha’s Hand Lemon Drop.

One of the more popular applications for buddha’s hand are with confections, candy, and dessert making. Candied Buddha’s Hand (‘candied’ being sugared fruit pieces) is a common use for this citrus. Naturally, given the fragrance boost, the zest is coveted for savory culinary applications as well. Being easily substituted for traditional lemon zest in any recipe for heightened citrus experience. For the ultimate lemon fan, these substitutions are definitely worth a try. Simply swap out the lemon zest for buddha’s hand zest in any of these recipes. 

Lemon Squares 

Lemon Olive Oil Cake

Lemon Ricotta Cheesecake

Sourcing Buddha’s Hand 

Given the increase in popularity of buddha’s hand, you may find these tucked in next to the more traditional citrus fruits at your grocery store. If not, most Asian grocers will carry buddha’s hands, especially during the wintertime.   

Feature Image:  K_Kristie from Pixabay 

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