Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Buddha's Hand Lemon Preserved in Simple Syrup


I couldn't resist buying one of these curious and spectacular citrus (Citrus medica var. sarcodactylus) at our farmer's market. It looks like an elegant sea creature! Hamada Farms has been selling them last fall and winter in our area (SF Bay Area). Known as the Buddha's Hand Lemon or Buddha's Hand Citron, it grows on a frost-tender small tree. Apparently the fruits take a long time to develop, and easily weigh about a pound each. The tree is quite a sight with several of these hanging from it.

The Buddha's Hand Lemon has no juice or pulp
The Buddha Hand Lemon is surprisingly fragrant, and that's what makes it popular, in addition to its unusual form. It's also unique in that it is filled with white pith and no pulp or juice, but the pith is only slightly bitter and the rind is wonderfully citrusy.  Use the zest in recipes calling for lemon zest, or preserve it for use in baking, ice cream, or yogurt.

After displaying it on my dining table for a week I preserved it in a simple syrup to use in baking and other recipes, but you can also make candied lemon pieces.

Buddha's Hand Lemon in Simple Syrup

1 large Buddha's Hand Lemon, scrubbed and chopped into 1/2 inch pieces or smaller
3 cups of granulated sugar
3 cups of water

In a large sauce pan, heat the water and stir in the sugar. Keep stirring the sugar until it is all dissolved- being careful not to burn it. Add the chopped lemon pieces and let them simmer, stirring occasionally. Cook until they turn translucent as shown in the photo below. It will take about 20 - 30 minutes, or more.
I added finely chopped  preserved Buddha's Hand to my granola recipe- yummy!

Let it cool until you can pour it safely into a clean quart size canning jar. Store in the refrigerator with a lid on the jar when it has completely cooled. It will keep for several months.

Photos: Urban Artichoke

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