Yuzu Lime Leaves
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Yuzu Lime leaves are bright green and have a glossy sheen. They have a narrow, elongated oval shape towards the tip, and a short, rounded leaflet segment at the base. Yuzu Lime leaves are highly aromatic and have a rich oil content. When crushed, they release a spicy citrus flavor and scent that can be described as a cross between yuzu fruit juice and pine. The Yuzu tree is a hardy tree that produces fruit with thick, pebbly rinds and seedy flesh. Its branches and twigs are covered in sharp spines that can measure up to 5 mm in length. Yuzu trees are mainly cultivated for their fruit, which are harvested in the winter, though their leaves are also edible.
Yuzu lime leaves are available year-round.
Yuzu Lime is also known as Japanese Citron, and is botanically classified as Citrus ichangensis X C. reticulata var. austere, or Citrus junos. It is a hybrid between the Satsuma mandarin and the Ichang papeda. The name "Lime" is misleading as the Yuzu has no lime parentage. Around half of Japan's Yuzu Lime production comes from Shikoku island, famous for its Yuzu groves. The island is also known for feeding its chickens Yuzu, resulting in eggs with a similar taste profile as that of Yuzu leaves and fruit.
Yuzu Lime leaves, as well as citrus leaves in general, contain compounds that have been shown to have antibacterial properties. They can also contain good amounts of essential vitamins. Lime leaves, for example, contain large amounts of vitamin C, and Yuzu Lime leaves are thought to have similar properties.
Yuzu Lime leaves are commonly steeped in teas or made into soaps in Japan and Korea. They can also be used as aroma and flavor enhancers in cooking, such as in curries and soups. To help them release their flavour, fresh Yuzu Lime leaves are bruised, torn, or cut into smaller pieces. Like other citrus leaves, Yuzu Lime leaves can be stored in plastic bags in the refrigerator, but should be used within four to five days. They can be dried in jars, or even frozen, but they taste best fresh.
Yuzu Lime leaves are believed to have been used in traditional Korean Citron tea, a health drink which is taken as a digestive aid and an immune system booster. In Korea, Yuzu Lime leaves are thought to have anti-parasitic properties, and are said to help with intenstinal worms.
Yuzu Lime is native to East Asia, and was supposedly first found growing wild in Tibet and China. Today it is most commonly cultivated in areas of Japan and in Korea, where it is known as Yuja. The thorny, rugged tree is an evergreen that is extremely tolerant to the cold, and can withstand temperatures that dip to -5 degrees Celcius.
Recipes that include Yuzu Lime Leaves. One is easiest, three is harder.
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