What Is Yuzu?

(Image credit: shutterstock)

No, this funny-looking, seed-packed fruit isn’t a deformed lemon or a discolored orange. Instead, it’s another exotic citrus that you should be on your radar.

About the size of a tangerine, yuzu is mainly cultivated in Japan, Korea, and China. It’s incredibly fragrant, but also super sour and tart, which means it’s not meant to be eaten as is. Instead, its zest and juice are used for flavoring in the kitchen.

Fresh yuzu can be hard to track down since most of the fruit is grown overseas and is not imported. There’s a small amount being grown in California, however, between the months of September through November — check out your Asian grocery store and you just might find it. Otherwise, reach for the more accessible juice or frozen zest, which can also be found at Asian grocery stores. Here are a few great ways to use both.

Whisked into a Salad Dressing

Just like lemon or lime juice adds acidity and freshness to dressings, yuzu juice does the same. Swap it in for either in a recipe — its delicate floral aroma gives any dressing a unique twist.

Get a Recipe: Mushroom Salad with Yuzu Dressing (from Epicurious)

Shaken in Cocktails

Perhaps the most popular way to feature yuzu at the moment is in cocktails. The juice is so tart and strong that you only need a little to add a punch of flavor. This simple vodka and vanilla cocktail from White on Rice Couple is spiked with a bit of the juice. Or you can use the zest to enhance a cocktail, like in our twist on a mojito.

Get a Recipe: Shiso Yuzu “Mojito”

Used in a Dipping Sauce or Marinade

The most classic way to use yuzu juice is in ponzu, an all-purpose Japanese citrus and soy sauce that’s great in a marinade for chicken or fish or used as a dipping sauce for grilled meat. While it’s easily available to buy, it’s also simple to make at home.

Read More: What Is Ponzu?

Have you used yuzu yet?

We support our readers with carefully chosen product recommendations to improve life at home. You support us through our independently chosen links, many of which earn us a commission.