Monday, December 15, 2003


As attentive readers of this humbly and quotidianly eclectic endeavor will recall, I have long been on the lookout for a good yuzu tree, sapling, seedling, scion, whatever, as long as I know it is the genuine real true thing. I've heard many tales, especially from the States, about buying yuzu seedlings whose fruit some years later turns out to be of an inedible variety, an issue of big importance where yuzu is now a very marketable item of supreme cuisinal art, not to mention yuzu martinis, margaritas and cosmetics, making yuzu a fruit with major wazoo potential.

All I want genuine yuzu for, though, is cooking (and of course for rinds to sprinkle in the hot bath of a winter evening), and was conversationally lamenting as much to one of my upmountain neighbors, decrying the chronic deficiency of yuzu in my garden, when he turned and cut three scions from his own classic yuzu tree and gave them to me. The scions of those scions are now propagating in the kitchen window.

Those "subscions" should yield about a dozen rooted treelings by spring, from which I will choose one or two to grow to full size. My kindly neighbor also gave me a couple of late yuzu fruits from the very tree, and they are the real thing; peeled some into the bath last night and grated some into the miso shiru for lunch.

I haven't yet heard much from the three-star kitchens of the West about the other two zesty members of Japan's cuisinal citrus triumvirate, i. e., the pine-y, tart kabosu and the tangy, lime-like sudachi, but I expect I will before long. I will be posting about those two as their tasty occasions arise in my kitchen.