Shaking Buddha’s Hand

Buddha's Hand

Buddha’s Hand

At a recent party, a dear friend brought me this exotic piece of fruit. Well, exotic to me.  I’d seen them before, but never had one of my own. It is called Buddha’s Hand and it’s a type of citrus. Just holding it, you definitely get the smell of lemons. It is larger than a grapefruit, with these cool “fingers” that grow out from the base. Unlike lemons, Buddha’s Hand doesn’t have a juicy center.

I didn’t want to waste it so I looked into how to use it.  I knew I wanted to zest it. When zesting most citrus fruit, you need to avoid the white pith, which is bitter. That is not the case with a Buddha’s hand. The pith is not bitter and can be used. I cut it in half and started zesting.


I used my microplane at first, but it was too difficult, so I went up a size to a slightly coarser grater. I tasted some and it had a nice, lemony taste and not at all bitter. I ended  up with about 3 cups of zest- and I had only used about half of the Buddha’s hand. I put the zest in containers and tossed most of it in the freezer. I did use some on catfish for dinner that night and loved it.

Still, I had 3 cups of zest and had only used half of the fruit. It was time for plan B. I make candied orange peel, lemon peel and ginger. Why not candy the rest? I sliced the remaining fruit and put it in a saucepan, covering it with water. I simmered the sliced fruit for about 10 minutes, then drained off the water. This keeps it from getting bitter. I added fresh water to just cover the slices and added 1/2 cup of sugar. I boiled it down until the liquid was gone. I watched it carefully to make sure it didn’t scorch as the liquid evaporated. I put about a cup of sugar in a shallow pan and spooned in the sliced Buddha’s hand. I stirred it, kind of tossing it around until it was all evenly coated. I spread it out in the pan and allowed it to cool and dry a little overnight.


I tried it the next morning. The candied Buddha’s hand tastes really good. Very much like candied lemons. I also had a friend taste it, and he liked it, a lot!! I’ll use it as a snack and chopped up in baked goodies. I might try dipping some in melted chocolate, too. I thought that might make a nice gift.


In the end, I really had fun. Trying something that was new to me. Experimenting. I don’t think there is any profound message here. Maybe just to keep your mind open, to trying new things and keep learning new things. I could see myself getting one and doing this again- but I’ll have to use up all that zest, first.

An inside view

An inside view

One big pile of zesy

One big pile of zest

Candied Buddha's Hand

Candied Buddha’s Hand


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