Yuzu Lime Leaves
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Yuzu is a cold hardy tree that produces fruits with thick pebbly rinds and seedy flesh. The tree, branches and twigs are covered in sharp spines that can measure up to 5 millimeters in length. Its leaves are bright green and have a glossy sheen due to their rich aromatic oils. They have a narrow elongated oval shape towards the tip and a short rounded leaflet segment at the base. When crushed, they release a spicy citrus scent and flavor that is a cross between yuzu and pine.
Yuzu lime leaves are available year-round.
Yuzu lime is also known as Japanese Citron and 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, a slow growing wild citrus which has never been individually cultivated though it is a parent to many hybrids. The name "lime" is misleading as the Yuzu has no lime parentage. Yuzu is primarily grown for its acidic juice and aromatic zest as the flesh is unpalatable with many seeds. The leaves are highly aromatic and have a rich oil content. Yuzu leaves are not traditionally used in cooking, but have been found as ingredients in teas and soaps in Japan. Yuzu leaves have been studied for their use in essential oils, but the peel is used, rather than the leaf.
Yuzu leaves can be used to make teas and soaps in Japan and Korea.
Yuzu leaves may have been used in Korean Citron tea, which is believed to help with digestion and to help cure colds. The leaves are said to have anti-parasitic properties, and may help with intenstinal worms.
Yuzu is native to East Asia. It was found growing wild in Tibet and China. It is now most commonly cultivated in Korea (where it is known as "yuja") and Japan, where it is prized for the juice and rind of the fruit.