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Yuzu Lime Leaves
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Yuzu lime leaves small to medium in size and are narrow, lanceolate, or elliptical in shape. The green leaves have a dark, glossy sheen on the surface and have a lighter green, matte underside. There is also a prominent, central vein running the length of the leaf. Yuzu lime leaves are highly aromatic and have a rich oil content. When crushed, they release a spicy citrus flavor and scent that can be described as a cross between yuzu fruit juice and pine. The yuzu tree also produces fruit with thick, pebbly rinds and seedy flesh, and its branches and twigs are covered in sharp spines that can measure up to five millimeters in length.
Yuzu lime leaves are available year-round.
Yuzu lime leaves, botanically classified as Citrus junos, grow on a shrub or small tree and belong to the Rutaceae, or citrus family. Also known as Japanese citron and Yuja, yuzu lime trees have no lime parentage and are a hybrid between the satsuma mandarin and the ichang papeda. Yuzu trees are mainly cultivated for their fruit, but their leaves are used to flavor teas and soaps. Japan is one of the top cultivators of yuzu lime trees and around half of its production comes from Shikoku island, famous for its yuzu groves. The island is also known for feeding its chickens yuzu, resulting in eggs with a similar flavor profile to Yuzu leaves and fruit.
Yuzu lime leaves contain essential vitamins like vitamin C and compounds that have been shown to have antibacterial properties.
Yuzu lime leaves are commonly used as a flavoring and are steeped in boiling water to make teas in Japan and Korea. They are also used to add flavor in curries, stir-fries, stews, and soups. To help release flavor, fresh Yuzu lime leaves are bruised, torn, or cut into smaller pieces. Yuzu lime leaves will keep up to five days when stored in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. They can also be dried or frozen for extended use.
Yuzu lime leaves are believed to have been used in traditional Korean citron tea, which is a health drink taken as a digestive aid and an immune system booster. The tea has been reported to help relieve sore throats, reduce fevers, and help soothe upset stomachs. In Korea, Yuzu lime leaves are also thought to have anti-parasitic properties and are said to help with intestinal worms.
Yuzu limes are native to East Asia and were believed to have been first found growing wild in Tibet and China. They were then spread to Korea and Japan during the Tang Dynasty between 618-907 CE. Today Yuzu lime leaves can be found at specialty grocers and markets in Japan, Korea, China, Europe, and the United States.
Recipes that include Yuzu Lime Leaves. One is easiest, three is harder.
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