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Buddha’s Hand Citron
Friday December 10th 2010, 8:17 pm
Filed under: Produce

This odd looking fruit is actually one of the oldest members of the citrus family. Although it smells strongly of lemon, it has no juicy pulp hidden beneath its rind. Instead, the Buddha’s Hand is grown commercially for its powerful zest. The aromatic rind is used to flavor lemon liqueurs and specialty vodkas, and provides aroma to lemon-scented cosmetics. Chinese and Japanese households hang it in their homes as a natural air freshener, and it even has a place in some religious ceremonies.

Candied Buddha’s Hand Citron

Peels from 1 large Buddha’s Hand citron
2 c white sugar
1-2 c extra-fine sugar for dusting (see note)

1. Place citrus strips in sauce pan and cover with water. Bring to boil and then simmer
for 10 minutes. Drain and rinse peels, and then repeat process 2 more times to
tenderize peels and remove any bitterness.

2. Make a simple syrup over medium-high heat by mixing white sugar with 2 c water.
Be sure to stir the syrup until the sugar dissolves completely.

3. When the syrup boils, add boiled peels and adjust heat to maintain a moderate boil.
Stir occasionally until the syrup reaches 230°F, about 1-2 hours total. Note that as
the syrup diminishes from the pan, you will need to stir more frequently.

4. Line a cookie sheet with foil and spread half of the extra-fine sugar in a thin layer.

5. When the syrup reaches 230°F, carefully remove peels and place onto sugared
cookie sheet. Sprinkle more extra-fine sugar on top of the peels and toss to
coat completely.

6. When cool enough to handle, dry peels on a rack overnight. Store in a cool, air-tight
container in single layers between waxed paper.  Makes 12-24 pieces.

Note: To make extra fine sugar at home, place 1 cup of white sugar in a food processor and whirl for 30-60 seconds.