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Yuzu

Yuzu

Your Japanese grocery store Nishikidôri proposes you the yuzu which is a citrus fruit of the Citrus Junos family. The wild Yuzu or Mishoyuzu : it is on the island of Kôchi that the only wild Yuzu trees of Japan remain. They can measure from 5 to 8 meters high, the harvest of the fruits is not very easy, they produce their first fruits after 20 years. The fruits are very hardy in appearance, non-uniform in color, and stained with woody marks. Our yuzu come from Kitagawamura, a small mountainous town, which is undoubtedly, according to the Japanese, the best in Japan. The mountains of Kitagawamura, in May, when the yuzu trees are in bloom, give off a fragrance that perfumes the air for dozens of kilometers around.

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LEARN MORE ABOUT YUZU

Your Japanese grocery store Nishikidôri tells you everything

 

Kochi, land of horticulture

With a mild climate and a good geographical location (coasts bordering the Pacific Ocean and fertile mountains), Kochi prefecture offers many riches. In spite of a high rate of afforestation and few flat lands, but benefiting from a mild climate in winter. Kochi has developed with horticulture, especially market gardening under greenhouses. In recent years, Kochi has been a forerunner in Japan in Integrated Pest Management (IPM), an approach against the misuse of chemical pesticides by reintroducing predators of pests. The fruit cultivation method, such as yuzu, is also applied to Tosa Apple, for example, which has a high market share in Japan (note that yuzu production represents 50%).

 

The yuzu (Citrus Junos)

What is yuzu?

The yuzu is a citrus fruit of the Citrus family (Citrus Junos) coming from a thorny tree ("thorns" of 2 to 5 cm). A yuzu fruit weighs 120 to 130g. It has a thick and irregular skin. Its freshness and its characteristic aroma are very appreciated in Japan as well as the strong lemon used in the culinary preparations.

The fruit is ripe and yellow.

The skin of the ripe fruit is a deep yellow to golden color.

Sometimes it presents some brownish or black spots, of scaly appearance. This is a natural physiological reaction of the fruit, characteristic of yuzu. These few unsightly spots do not alter the fruit and are a guarantee of its authenticity. They are due to the stress of the tree in front of the weather elements, to the work of the ground, or to scars of the fruit pricked by the sharp spines of the tree.

 

History of yuzu

Originally, yuzu was found upstream of the Yangtze River in China and was brought to Japan 1300 years ago during the Nara period (710-794), via the Korean peninsula. Since the end of the Heian era of Japan, exploited as a medicine. Its juice is still used today as vinegar. The scientific name "Junos" may come from "Yu no su" (yuzu vinegar), which is still used in Kochi.

 

Yuzu growing region

Yuzu is grown in Japan, Korea, and China, but Japan is the largest producer and consumer. In Korea, yuzu from the Japanese tree would not have as much aroma due to its cultivation by the sea, low daily temperature range, and low rainfall.

 

Yuzu from seedling

In the past, yuzu was grown as a planted or natural seedling. But the first fruits appearing only after fifteen to twenty years and the tree reaching five to six meters, the grafting was generalized with the enlargement of the cultures for a fast and stable production. We have only 5% of yuzu left from seedlings in the oldest production area. In recent years, yuzu juice from seedlings has been highly prized for its powerful aroma and flavor, but it is not widely used due to its uncertain yield and low quantity of extractable juice (15% versus 18% in general).

 

Kochi yuzu: 50% of the market share in Japan

Yuzu is cultivated in the prefectures south of Miyagi. But the main production is done on the island of Kyushu.

Kochi dominates the Japanese production market with its 50% share.

 

Development of cultivated area and production of Koichi yuzu

The cultivated area of yuzu and its production in Koichi is growing faster than those in other prefectures due to the special appreciation of its yuzu and the increased demand from Japan and abroad.

 

Why did Kochi become the largest yuzu producing region?

It is not known exactly when the cultivation of yuzu began in Kochi. But it has long been known that the climate is suitable for yuzu cultivation due to the presence of wild yuzu in the mountains of Kochi. Since 1960, with the rise of domestic demand for yuzu, many production areas have appeared in the Kochi Mountains.

The mountainous region of Koichi, with its abundant rainfall and low sunlight, is ideal for growing cold-hardy yuzu. The wide temperature range of the mountain climate enhances its aroma. This is why Kochi yuzu, which is so popular and famous, has become a specialty of horticultural production.

 

The high reputation of Kochi yuzu in Japan

20% of Kochi's yuzu production is shipped to the domestic market as fruit. The remaining 80% is used for juice in extraction plants. It is sold to food processing companies for ponzu (vinegar or condiment), beverages, or processed in factories at the production site for various products. Producers are striving to modernize their extraction and processing equipment, improve the quality of ingredients and products, and systematically control hygiene to gain the trust of their customers.

 

Annual production and sales of Kochi yuzu

From the yuzu grown in the ground in April to the December yuzu that peaks in sales during the holiday season around the winter solstice until March of the following year, yuzu is delivered year-round, which is unique in Japan and highly valued by the market.

 

Cultivation technique Kochi yuzu

Varieties of yuzu

Among the varieties of yuzu, there is "Tadanishiki", seedless yuzu. But in Kochi, the superior varieties are selected from the seedling yuzu grown in several production areas such as "Nagano-kei", "Kumon-kei", or "Kiyoto-kei".

 

Control of yuzu crops

Among all citrus fruits, yuzu is the one with the most random yield. Therefore, the pruning and harvesting of the fruit become particularly important. It is also necessary to protect the fruit from insect pests. The producers are responsible for the correct use of pesticides and keep track of the production data in order to keep it stable and healthy. In addition, the crops for processing, such as yuzu from seedlings, are based on pruning and fertilization without pesticides. Some producers use other cultivation methods such as organic farming.

 

Harvest

Greenhouse-grown yuzu is harvested between April and June, field-grown green yuzu is harvested between July and October, and yellow yuzu is harvested between late October and late December. After harvesting, the yuzu is sorted for fruit or juice and shipped very quickly.

 

Yield

For field cultivation, it is possible to harvest between 15 and 20 kg of fruit (about 150 pieces) per tree, that is to say between 1.5 and 2 tons per 1000 m² (100 trees). Nevertheless, the harvest can vary from one year to another, especially for old trees from seedlings. As the yield is not stable, the scarcity increases its value.

 

Juice extraction

The juice extracted from a fruit generally represents 18 to 20% of the total weight of the fruit. But for yuzu from seedling, the fruit being small and the extraction rate low (15%), it is possible to obtain only 2 to 3 liters of yuzu juice per tree.

 

Nutritional components of yuzu

Main components

Quantity per 100 g

Beneficial effects of the component

Dietary fiber

Skin: 690 mg

Juice: 400 mg

The yuzu is rich in dietary fiber and more particularly in pectin. Dietary fiber stimulates intestinal contractions, slows down the absorption of carbohydrates, and helps reduce cholesterol and blood sugar levels.

Potassium

Skin: 140 mg

Juice: 210 mg

Potassium helps maintain ideal ionic balance and cellular activation.

Vitamin C

Skin: 150 mg

Juice: 40 mg

Vitamin C strengthens immunity and defenses against viral diseases.

Essential oils

 

Essential oils such as pinene, limonene or citral contained in the skin of the yuzu tonify the blood flow and produce a heat retention effect. In the past, it was recommended to "take a yuzu bath on the winter solstice" to relax the body and prevent colds.

 

Use of yuzu

Type

Parts used

Example of uses

Yellow yuzu

Fruit (peel)

Condiments (yuzu pepper), yuzu miso, yuzu tea (marmalade), liqueurs, cakes, cosmetics, bath salts.

Yellow yuzu

Juice

Compound vinegar (ponzu), soft drinks, liqueurs, and cakes.

Yellow yuzu

Seeds

Cosmetic products, oils, health food.

Green yuzu

Fruit (peel)

Condiments (yuzu pepper), pickled yuzu, and cakes (yuzu flavored).

Green yuzu

Juice

Compound vinegar (ponzu).

 

The yuzu is used in cooking for multiple preparations. It can be incorporated into sauces, such as salad dressing, or used in salads, grilled fish, tofu, or barbecue. It can be used in condiments (salt, pepper), sushi vinegar, cakes, alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks.

It can also replace lemon on oysters, carpaccios, cevice, or tartars.

Yuzu is the basis of the Japanese condiments Yuzu Ponzu and Yuzu Kosho

Its magnificent fragrance is also used to make lotions, soaps, or essential oils.

 

What does yuzu taste like?

The taste of Yuzu is unique, very acid, and fruity, its taste is between lime, tangerine, and grapefruit but it remains a citrus fruit with a very characteristic taste, marked, typical, that must be tasted first.

 

What are the benefits of yuzu?

Yuzu is rich in vitamin C, which helps strengthen the immune system, and in antioxidants, which fight against cell aging. Low in calories, it is a very greedy ally in cooking.

 

Where to find Yuzu?

Every year at the end of the year, your Japanese grocery store Nishikidôri offers you fresh Yuzu directly from Japan.

And all year round, Japanese Yuzu in all its forms:

 

What is Yuzu sauce?

Yuzu sauce is Yuzu Ponzu, a Japanese sauce very popular in Japan, rich in Umami. It is composed of soy sauce, yuzu juice, kombu seaweed, dried bonito, mirin and vinegar.

Very easy to use, it is perfect for sashimi, sushi, nabe, raw vegetable salads, tempura, gyoza, hot soups, grilled fish, carpaccios, tartars, ceviche...

 

Where to find Yuzu puree?

Your Japanese grocery store Nishikidôri offers you a 100% natural Yuzu puree, made from the best yuzu of Kôchi prefecture, picked at perfect maturity. The fresh fruit is hand seeded and cooked in a cauldron.

This puree is perfect for chocolate makers, pastry chefs, cooks, ice cream makers, and can be used as a base or condiment.

It can also, in all simplicity, decorate a good slice of toast... A delight!