Buddah’s Hand Citron

On a visit to the garden of our friend Merren we discovered this rare and interesting fruit tree, the Buddah’s hand citron. It is grown  in Asia where there are many cultivars and variations of this plant and it was exciting to find it growing so well in Sydney.

The gnarled fruit, when mature, looks like a hand with fingers. The  fruit pictured is still to mature and further develop its finger like protuberances.

IMG_20160110_130939-Buddahs hand citron j5

 

IMG_20160116_170536-buddah's hand citron

 

Here is a picture of the mature fruit, a closed hand variety.

Buddha's had citron-640px-Castello,_collezione_degli_agrumi_06
Public Domain Image: Sailko, 2006  Wikipedia

The fruit ripens in late autumn to early winter and is used in a variety of ways.

Like other types of citron the Buddah’s hand citron can be  is used to make delicious candied peel as it is mainly thick rind with very little moisture and no seeds. It can be  infused in syrup or vodka to make  citrus flavoured drinks and the zest can be used to flavour a variety of foods and for making preserves and marmalade.

The fruits are very fragrant and are often kept in a bowl to perfume the air with their sweet citrus fragrance.

It is used as an offering for Buddhist religious practice and in China is a symbol of happiness, longevity and good fortune.

In Asia the skin from the green fruit is dried and used medicinally.

Growing Buddha’s hand citron

The tree is small and shrubby in habit with oblong leaves and fruit that matures to between 15 – 30 cm. It is propagated by grafting.

Like all members of the citrus family it prefers full sun and good drainage and protection from frosts. Fertilise during the growing  season. Fruit is generally harvested from May to September.

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Source Wellcome Images, Chromalithograph by P.Depannemaeker, c. 1885  Wikipedia

This is a really interesting plant to add to your garden, look out for it.

Recipes:

For those that may be lucky enough to have this unusual citrus here David Liebovitz shows us how to do use them and this is a link to his recipe for using the fruit to make candied peel:

 

 

 

 

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