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This item was last sold on : 04/14/19
Sudachi limes are very small, averaging 3-4 centimeters in diameter, and are round to oblate with a slightly flattened shape. The thin rind is rough, leathery, covered in many small, visible oil glands, and matures from deep green to yellow. The flesh is dense, moist, pale green, contains a few inedible seeds, and is divided into 9-10 segments by thin, white membranes. Sudachi limes are juicy, aromatic, and have an acidic, sharp, and tart flavor with herbal undertones and notes of cumin, dill, and white pepper.
Sudachi limes are available in most regions in the fall through winter. In Japan, they are cultivated in greenhouses and are available year-round.
Sudachi limes, botanically classified as Citrus sudachi, are a Japanese variety of citrus that grows on trees reaching up to seven meters in height and are members of the Rutaceae family. Discovered as a natural, spontaneous mutation growing in Japan, Sudachi limes are believed to be a hybrid of a mandarin and a papeda, which is an ancient citrus variety. The name Sudachi loosely translates to “vinegar citrus” in English and the fruit is used in its immature, green state for its juice. Sudachi limes are favored by chefs and home cooks for their sharp, tangy flavor and are commonly utilized in both sweet and savory applications.
Sudachi limes are high in vitamin C and dietary fiber and contain calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium. The zest also contains the flavonoid limonene, which provides antioxidant benefits.
Sudachi limes are most often used fresh and can be incorporated into both raw and cooked applications. The juice can be used for vinegar, salad dressings, sauces, and marinades for flavoring fish dishes, udon or soba noodle soups. The juiced can also be used on ceviche, sashimi, sushi, gyoza, soumen, and hot pot, and in desserts such as cakes, ice cream, and sorbet. In addition to culinary applications, Sudachi lime juice is used in alcoholic beverages like shochu, juices, sodas, and flavored water. The zest can be used in both sweet and savory dishes, and both the zest and pith contain a high amount of pectin, making Sudachi limes ideal for marmalades and jellies. Sudachi limes pair well with matsutake mushrooms, tropical fruits, soba noodles, ginger, mirin, miso, green tea, soy sauce, poultry, pork, shrimp, scallops, and fish. The limes will keep up to two weeks when stored in the refrigerator, and the juice and zest can be stored in the freezer for extended use.
For centuries, Sudachi limes were localized to Japan and were traditionally used in ponzu sauce, which is a thin, tart sauce that is made out of Sudachi or yuzu, mirin, katsuboshi, seaweed, and vinegar. To expand the citrus market and incorporate new global flavors, in 1963, a botanist with the Citrus Variety Collection in Riverside, California traveled to Japan to learn more about Japanese citrus varieties, returning with several new fruits, including the Sudachi lime. Since that time in Japan, Sudachi lime production has increased and has become a niche industry to meet rising market demand. With the presence of social media and immediate access to information on new produce items, chefs across the world are now using the tiny fruit for its bold, sharp flavor. With this rise in awareness of the exotic citrus, growers in California have also established a sizeable presence in commercial production to help introduce the fruit to consumers in the United States melding Eastern flavors with Western cooking.
Sudachi limes are native to Japan, specifically the Tokushima Prefecture on Shikoku island, where they were discovered as a chance seedling and had been growing since ancient times. In 1963, the limes were introduced to the United States, and budwood for commercial growers has been available for sale since the late 2000s. Today Sudachi limes are still produced in Japan and are also cultivated on a small scale through growers in Southern California, most commonly found at local markets and specialty grocers.
Recipes that include Sudachi. One is easiest, three is harder.
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