Whether shaped like a bumpy lemon or a pair of praying hands (a variety known as Buddha’s Hand citron), large and fragrant citron is all zest – which, for a lot of people, is the best part of any citrus fruit.
What Does Citron Taste Like?
The citron fruit mainly consists of the white pith and yellow or green skin with little to no juice and pulp. The outer skin of the fruit has a fragrant lemony flavor with a hint of sweetness and no tartness. Its pith has a similar flavor, sometimes accented with some bitterness.
Citron in Drinks
If you’ve heard of citron before, you likely associate it with tea. Citron tea is often enjoyed on its own or with other teas and herbs. Some common pairings are green tea, ginger, and honey. Yuja-cha (yuja tea) is a popular Korean drink made of citron marmalade diluted with hot water. In Italy, meanwhile, citron is used to make citron soda while in Samoa, it’s made into a lemonade-like drink known as vai tipolo. It’s also popularly used as a natural flavoring for distilled alcoholic drinks like vodka or soju.
Cooking with Citron
Like other citrus fruits, citron is a versatile ingredient that can bring brightness to any sweet or savory dish and can also stand on its own as a main ingredient.
In South India and parts of the Middle East and Europe, citron’s thick skin is candied or made into jam. It’s also pickled or dried and salted, making a wonderfully zingy condiment. Use pickled or salted citron to add another layer of flavor to Turkish soft-boiled eggs with savory yogurt or use fresh citron in place of lemon zest in this shrimp alfredo.
For dessert, you can use citrons in place of lemons for any dish that requires a lot of zest. This lemon olive oil cake, for example, ordinarily uses enough zest for two lemons but should be no problem for one citron. Our early grey tea cake is also a great candidate for a sprinkle of citron zest, as it needs the sweet flavor of lemon zest without the juice.