Yuzu Are An Asian Citrus Plant Favoured By Chefs In Dressings & Drizzles Over Seafood. This is How To Grow Yuzu In Your UK Garden.
The question I’m often asked before How to Grow Yuzu is … What Is Yuzu?
So in this article I’m covering both What is Yuzu? and How to Grow Yuzu
What Is Yuzu?
Yuzu, Citrus junos, refers to both the fruit and the citrus plant itself. As the Latin name suggests it’s from the Rutaceae or citrus family. It originates from central China and is thought to originate as a hybrid cross between a mandarin orange and the Ichang papeda which is known for its lemon scented flowers and leaves.
The Ichang papeda ancestry means it is very frost hardy and I’ve seen claims that it’ll survive down to -20C with little harm. Others are more wary of the cold and suggest down to -4C or thereabouts. Though of course, whatever temperature is right for adult plants, young plants may succumb more easily to severe weather. So you decide if you will grow it outside or in side in winter.
This hybrid cross has resulted in a unique very tart fruit with a flavour reminiscent of a lemon flavoured grapefruit. There is however a Japanese type, the yuko, that is sweeter.
The fruit can be as big as a grapefruit but is more often 2-3 inches (5-5-7.5 cm) in diameter.
The skin is quite thick, dimpled or uneven and goes from green to orange as it ripens.
Yuzu Juice & Zest Used as a Flavouring and More
In China, Korea and Japan the juice is often used in baths to scent the water .. warm yuzu smell delightful. And there is an ornamental version that is grown for its highly scented flowers.
The main use of yuzu is not as an edible fruit as it is so tart, but as a flavouring for other foods (personally I find it tart but such a beautiful flavour I still eat them raw). The Japanese grow tens of thousands of tons of yuzu each year and use both the zest and juice are used in much the same way as we would use lemons.
The juice can be used to make a wine, ponzu sauce, and a vinegar. The zest can be used for marmalade, in miso soup and in cakes.
In Korea it is used to make a marmalade and yuzu tea!
In the West chefs tend to use it as a flavouring in everything from fish dishes to panna cotta. It also goes well in recipes where soy or honey is used. Or use it al pan alternative to orange blossom water or with cinnamon or cloves.
Though the tendency was originally to use it in Japanese and Chinese inspired dishes Western chefs and now being much moire adventurous with it. And the great thing is the the flavour is so strong that a little goes a long way.
How To Grow Yuzu
Top Asian Fruit Culinary Tip
Try yuzu in a G&T. It’s heavenly.
How To Grow Yuzu From Seed
Citrus fruit are usually easy to grow from seed. And the yuzu seed is quite big so should get going quickly. But I’ve never grown a yuzu from seed myself for one simple reason. With new plants I want to taste them as asap so getting plant makes more sense simply because its quicker.
So I suggest you get a plant. They will set you back around £40.
How to Grow Yuzu Inside or Outside
The answer to how to grow yuzu can be summed up in one word .. CAREFULLY.
Yuza have fiercesome thorns on them. they are vicious. So beware if you pot them and want to move them. Beware if you have pets or children. Beware if they are where you walk.
Out side plant them against a brick wall that captures the warmth of the sun and they’ll do their best. Though they survive the cold they don’t grow when its cold. The need a temperature of at least 4-5C before they start growing. So a greenhouse if ideal for then Or, if against an outside wall, a glass screen in front off them.
Having said that, mine is outside on a south facing wall and will have to look after itself. It started inside but I decided it was either the cat or the yuzu that could sit on the window .. and the cat won!
Information on How to Grow Yuzu is thin on the ground .. and the Internet. So we have to think like a plant.
We know citrus generally like it warm and well drained. So a light well drained soil makes sense. It’ll need adequate watering at all times and that’ll increase in warm weather and when the fruit start to sell .. remember fruit contain a lot of moisture and grow fast. And though they like well drained soil, because they need moisture they wil benefit from a good level of organic matter in the soil or compost.
It also makes sense to protect them from strong winds. The not like cold winds, but there’s another reason. You don’t want the fruit blowing about and being damaged against those sharp thorns.
Pruning Yuzu Trees
Note I said pruning yuzu trees and not bushes. That’s because they can grow to 3-4 metres high. Because of the thorn pricing has to be done carefully. But it is done because of the thorns rather than not at all. The idea behind the pruning being to make picking easier. We need to open a tree up to allow us too get a gloved hand into the tree to pick the fruit. So remove, dead, dying, diseased and crossed branches. Removing the crossed and congested ones will make picking just a bit easier!
Alternatively you could decide too shake the tree to remove fruit rather than picking it. But the fruit will never be at its best if you do it this way. I’m guessing that in commercial yuzu orchards they use a machine to pick trees .. to very stout leather gloves.
Yuzu is one of my favourite Asian Fruit and you can see other Asian Fruit by following the link.