Instructables

Candied Buddha's Hand Citron

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Picture of Candied Buddha's Hand Citron
If you have never seen a Buddha's Hand Citron before you probably are thinking Monsanto has genetically engineered a cross between calamari and a lemon. Well, they probably have, but the mutant fruit you are looking at is actually a centuries old variety from Asia. They are strange and wonderful! Buddha's Hand Citron has an amazing floral fragrance but contains no juice at all. In fact they are solid pith - the white stuff inside more normal citrus skin constitutes the entire interior. Even more oddly, the pith is not bitter, unlike other citrus, and can even be eaten raw. Sadly it's not truly delicious...until you candy it! Candied Buddha's Hand Citron can be eaten by the fistful or you could add it to a loaf of Pannetone, Christmas Pudding, Fruit Cake or any other baked good that needs a fragrant chewy bite in it.

Ingredients:
1 Buddha's Hand Citron
3 cups sugar
3 cups water

Tools:
cutting board
knife
medium saucepot
soup spoon
glass of ice water
strainer or colander
cookie sheet

Step 1: Chop It Up

If you feel like the Buddha's Hand is looking at you, ignore it. It has no feelings. Put it on the cutting board and slice it in half deftly. Now you may put each half on it's flat side and slice it into half inch wide strips. Then slice the strips into sticks. Now dice them into 1/2 inch cubes.
 
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kholub-arant9 months ago
I live in Phx Az saw a Buddas Hand tree at local growers here. 2014
Euphrosyne1 year ago
What an amazing thing. I wondered if the Hand would leap off the screen and grab me around the throat (I think somebody wrote a story about something like that). Beautiful pictures, the finished chutney looks delicious, and I was happy to learn about something I didn't know before - the instructions were clear, and the google eyes lent the final touch to the whole enterprise. Thank you for this!
phyllo1 year ago
As an amature botanist, I would love to see pictures of the bark, twigs, buds, leaves and, if any, the flowers of this tree. also, how big is it? (wide and tall"?
creeper001 year ago
I stumbled across this page searching for info on the Buddhas's hand I got today. What a delightful site! Thank you.

This fruit was so fascinating I couldn't resist it. Dad was always one for trying new stuff, which is how I got acquainted with artichokes, kiwi fruit and Ugli fruit fifty-odd years ago. Today our Hy-Vee had several odd fruits in a "weird Halloween fruit" display which included kiwano, passionfruit and custard apples but nothing was as strange as the Buddha's hand. "What on earth is THAT?" I thought. Not feeling terribly adventurous at the moment I passed it by and would've left the store without it except that I had to go back to the produce section for bulk pistachios and there it was again, waving at me. The produce lady didn't know much about it except that it tasted like lemon. She scratched one of the fingers and let me smell it. It was wonderful! So I took the bait.

Then I had to figure out what to do with it. Thus my arrival here. I'll candy mine per your recipe. Seems to me the candied fruit would be wonderful in fruitcake or mincemeat. I'm looking forward to trying it in tea. That should be a nice change from coffee with crystalized ginger.
peapeam4 years ago
I have never seen such a lemon before. But, one thing really made me wonder, the name... Why do you call it "Citron", not lemon? I live in Norway, and in Norwegian, the word for "lemon", is "sitron", just like some other countries call it "citron" - same word, just slightly different spelling. But it means lemon. So it just sounded odd to me that a lemon is called citron in English since the rest of the fruit's name was in English (I could get it if the whole name was borrowed e.g. from the country where it originated, as sometimes happens when there previously has been no name for a fruit, or whatever)... Just got me curious... The lemon looked kind of freaky, I think... Gave me a bit of the same feeling when I looked at two old trees in a friend's garden today, the trees has real yucky crocodile bark, even on the thin branches. Nobody can identify the tree though, experts from the whole country has visited and just can't find out what the two trees are. They think it might be African though (!), but find it mind boggling how it has been able to survive hard winters here. Since the tree spreads, botanical gardens has come to get theirs to plant in their gardens too... Sorry, this was quite a digression, but those trees really looked both real yucky and cool at the same time. Gave me shivers down my spine, just like when I taste something really horrible or just see something that is super yucky. And that lemon kind of gave me the same feeling. But it must be interesting. Hmmmm... Wonder how many slices of lemon you get out of one, can't be few, LOL... No wonder they're perfect for cute small candied lemons. Can't wait to read the instructable!
peapeam peapeam4 years ago
I found an explanation re. the name. Obviously you have both lemons and citrons in the English language. A citron is a specific type, a lumpy surfaced one. Buddha's hand is, if I remember correctly now, a mutation from the above one, which happened a long, long time ago. Now they're considered part of the same family. Oh well, learn something new every day on the Internet, that's for sure!!! :)
Jayefuu4 years ago
Congrats! You're on BoingBoing

http://www.boingboing.net/2010/04/02/taste-test-buddhas-h.html
Does BoingBoing tell the original author when they post it up?
Goesto11 (author)  Kryptonite4 years ago
Jayefuu's comment is how I found out. Actually, I'd never heard of BoingBoing before that.
Evidently not then, maybe they do so many articles they don't have the time...?
schnitzle4 years ago
We followed your instructable and our candied buddha hand came out great...except it was so bitter it was inedible! We were so sad! The candied fruit was bitter and the syrup was even worse. I was really surprised since you said yours wasn't bitter at all. Maybe there are different types of buddha hand? 
The results are gorgeous, so I might try this again but boil the hand like you do with other citrus peels.
Goesto11 (author)  schnitzle4 years ago
 I'm so sorry that happened! I can't explain it. I have read that there are different varieties, but from my experience and research they all have very low levels of bitterness. We were eating the pith completely raw and it was actually quite pleasant, although a little spongy. Certainly blanching can reduce bitterness if you'd like to try again. Taste the fruit beforehand and decide if you need to!
wanamoka4 years ago
Thanks for doing this "ible".  I tried this last year with a beautiful piece of buddha's hand that I got from Central Market.   It didn't work out too well since I was kind of faking it without a recipe... They are so wonderfully fragrant.  p.s. I'm voting for you.
Goesto11 (author)  wanamoka4 years ago
 Thanks for the thanks! I hope you will try again and succeed!
awang84 years ago
Where did you get your buddha's hand from? I saw a buddha's hand tree the other day at the nursery, but come on. I don't grow fruit trees!

Looks delicious by the way! I saw some dried candied buddha's hand the other day at the asian supermarket (it looked like lemon peel covered with white mould.)
canida4 years ago
Awesome!  I just had some candied Buddha's hand citron as part of our dessert at Chez Panisse last week. Thanks for the info.
Chez Panisse gets their Buddha hand citron from a friend of mine.
It's a small world!
canida canida4 years ago
Here you go - candied Buddha's hand citron around the outside.  The rest is a Meyer lemon tart with huckleberry sauce.
4141091127_4a440ac5b1_b.jpg
Goesto11 (author)  canida4 years ago
 Nice! How lucky :)
Jayefuu4 years ago
Awesome instructible! Really interesting, really different, good/funny pictures and I learnt lots! Thanks :D

And what a weird looking fruit! Love it.

5*
Goesto11 (author)  Jayefuu4 years ago
Thanks! Buddha's Hand is far and away the oddest looking fruit I know of, although dragon fruit is pretty freaky too.
dragon-fruit-3.jpg
Ha ha. That's pretty mad too.
Gonazar Jayefuu4 years ago
Oh but these things taste soo damn good, they're nice and sweet. If i had to compare it, its like a soft apple without the tang, just sweet :D
fritsie1234 years ago
I've never seen such a fruit before, it looks quite weird! :-)

Nice instructable, I think I may try it with normal lemon (or orange) skin.

I do wonder though, if the fruit has no seeds in it, how will this help making new trees?
Goesto11 (author)  fritsie1234 years ago
This method will absolutely work for regular citrus skin BUT you must boil it in three changes of water to reduce bitterness before making the syrup. Buddha's Hand has no bitterness at all, which is why you can go directly to the syrup step!

Buddha's Hand is propagated by cuttings, not by seed. You have to snip a branch or twig and coax it into becoming a new tree!
"How did it evolve in the first place then?" was my first question, wikipedia says that only some are seedless, as i was wondering how it evolved in the first place. :D
Goesto11 (author)  Jayefuu4 years ago
 My understanding is that it was a natural mutation from a more normal citron. It grew from a seed first, and when it looked so strange, someone decided to keep growing it. I don't know how they got different varieties from it though! There are supposedly over a dozen distinct kinds.
Goesto11 (author)  Goesto114 years ago
I guess if it weren't for people, the individual tree would not have been able to reproduce naturally and this mutation would not exist today! Isn't that grand?
Pretty cool! Incessantly meddling humans!
PKM Jayefuu4 years ago
Remember that cloning plants doesn't require a massive lab, it needs little more than a sharp knife and some soil.  Plants that don't reproduce by seeding fruit (as I believe is the case with bananas) can be grown from cuttings, so you can grow a whole orchard of Chthulhu-lemon trees from one mutant.  The problem with this is a very genetically similar population which are at risk of susceptibility to infections. 
Goesto11 (author)  PKM4 years ago
Pretty much every named variety of tree fruit is propagated like this. They do not grow true from seed, so they are duplicated from cuttings. Every strain of apple, fig, citrus or grape etc. is genetically identical to every other plant of the same variety. Often the branch or fruiting part of the plant is grafted to a different variety or even species of rootstock to help them grow in different environments and avoid certain diseases. But those identical genes will produce slightly different fruit depending on the conditions where they grow. The effect is widely known in wine grapes (winemakers say "terroir") but it happens with other fruits too. I have a friend who owns an orchard in Pennsylvania. He says that a York apple grown in New York shows better characteristics than those that he grows in PA!
Limes are also usually seedless...

ItsTheHobbs4 years ago
That's the coolest looking fruit I've ever seen.
Agreed, never seen anything like that.
Gingerpony4 years ago
can i freeze my hand of buddha and use it later?  can i use it in place of lemon zest?  can i somehow boil pieces to create the fragrance in my home?  i love it's scent but other than the candy, not sure what else i can use it for.
Goesto11 (author)  Gingerpony4 years ago
I bet it would freeze ok, but I would use it fresh. It is a wonderful lemon zest substitute - so fragrant! Other than candy you could make marmalade, infuse into vodka to make liqueur, pour melted chocolate over the candy and make candy bars, add dried peel to potpourri, use strips of zest in a dish of fish or scallops.....use your 'magination
REA4 years ago
where can one who lives in the eastern part of America get this odd Cthulhu banana?
Goesto11 (author)  REA4 years ago
 We we able to buy one at a Harris Teeter in Virginia, but a quick google search for "specialty citrus" returned some shippers who claim to have them. Here they have them 5 for $25, about half of what I paid!

http://www.pearsonranch.com/buddhas-hand-citron.html
kfr1sby4 years ago
Where did you find youe buddha's hand? I have never seen them in stores, and I am dying to try one. Known about them for a few years, just can't find them.
kfr1sby kfr1sby4 years ago

your**

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