I work at a spice shop where creepy-cool Buddha's hands were part of a recent Halloween display. Now that the holiday has passed, I've taken one home to play with in the kitchen. Have you ever encountered this wonderfully bizarre fruit?
Though it looks like a lemon gone wild, the Buddha's hand is actually a distinct fruit in the citron family. It has a sweet, lemon blossom aroma and no juice or pulp. The mild-tasting pith is not bitter, so the fruit can be zested or used whole.
Now, what to do with it? Here are a few ideas:
1. Candy: The lack of bitterness makes the Buddha's hand perfect for making candied citrus peel, which you can eat by itself or use in baked goods. Cut it in strips or cubes, like this David Lebovitz recipe for Candied Citron.
2. Booze: The complex aroma of a Buddha's hand is fantastic for making infused vodka, limoncello (Buddhacello!), or flavored simple syrup for cocktails. I'm also experimenting with using Buddha's hand in homemade bitters.
3. Raw: Shave thin slices of Buddha's hand and add it to a salad or use it to top steamed tofu or fish. For salad dressing, check out White On Rice Couple's recipe for Buddhas Hand Vinaigrette
4. Sugar and Salt: Use Buddha's hand zest or even a whole finger to make scented sugar and flavored salt. With the holidays just around the corner these would make lovely gifts.
5. Ornamental: Leave the fruit out on your table as a fragrant air freshener, seasonal centerpiece, and conversation starter!
What have you done with a Buddha's hand?
(Image credits: Emily Ho)