Buddha’s Hand, likely originating in India more than 2,000 years ago, is considered a religious offering in Buddhist temples. The fruit acts as a symbol for happiness, longevity and good fortune, and is typically given as a New Year's gift.
Buddha's Hand is a citron, an ancestor of lemons and oranges, and is made of only sweet rind: no fruit, no pulp, no seeds, and no juice. It peaks in the winter months, and lucky for the Palouse, is available at the Moscow Food Co-op right now!
Here are a few ways to use this unusual and aromatic fruit:
Eat it raw: The fruit works the same as anything you'd use lemon rind for: Thin slices or zested Buddha's hand are great for use atop salads or in vinaigrette, or to garnish dishes with an additional fragrant flavor.
Candy it: Buddha's hand lacks the bitter rind flavor of oranges and lemons, and is perfect for use in fruitcakes or unique cocktails. The candied citron pieces can be stored in a jar at room temperature for a few weeks, but can be refrigerated for up to six months. One 8 oz. fresh citron will yield about one cup of candied pieces. Follow this recipe by David Lebovitz to learn more!
Refresh your home: The Buddha's fruit is extremely fragrant. Slice pieces off to impart a lemony, fresh scent in different rooms. A few swipes with a Microplane or cheese grater will release a potent perfume.
Make a liqueur: Buddhacello? Buddha's Hand is an ultra-aromatic alternative to the traditional Italian lemon infusion. We found this recipe from Theresa Blackburn that includes a recipe for Buddha's hand liqueur and an aromatic simple syrup recipe for use in subsequent cocktails!