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Jan 1, 2023

HOW TOThere’s no Stopping Yuzu, Japan’s Flavorful Do-it-all Citrus Fruit

Perfectly balanced between sweet and tangy, yuzu has been loved in Japan for years as a food, seasoning and drink flavoring. Now it’s winning fans overseas, and an expat-run drink company in Tokyo wants to help it win even more.

Jan 1, 2023

The many uses of pungent, powerful yuzu

With a flavor that’s sharper than an orange but sweeter than a lemon or lime, yuzu is one of Japan’s many amazing citrus fruits. It’s not eaten by itself though. Instead, yuzu juice and zest are used to enhance the flavor of all sorts of foods, and beverages too.

Yuzu lends itself especially well to broths, and adding some to a hot pot base or ramen stock can add a refreshing finish to the hearty, warming flavor. It’s also a key ingredient in certain ponzu sauces and the spicy chili paste yuzu kosho, a bold and complex condiment that’s an especially tasty accompaniment for sushi or yakitori chicken skewers. Yuzu is also always welcome by dessert fans when mixed into azuki (sweet bean paste) in traditional Japanese sweet dumplings, and the crisp tang of yuzu juice even makes it a great cocktail mixer and liqueur base.

Yuzu in Western cuisine and desserts

It may be a Japanese fruit, but yuzu’s citrus notes can work well in Western-style cooking as well. Fusion-focused chefs have discovered that yuzu’s flavor has similarities with orange, lemon and lime, and recipes that call for any of those three fruits can be adapted to use yuzu in combination with or in place of them.

That means that for entrees you could add yuzu to seafood, fish and shellfish both, as well as pasta and chicken dishes. Not a fan of the above-mentioned azuki? Not a problem – yuzu makes a great star ingredient for many Western-style desserts like tarts, cheesecakes and poundcakes. Oh, and if you’re thinking that yuzu would be perfect for sherbets and ice creams, you’re exactly right. Both are actually popular frozen treats in Japan, and you could even get extra fancy with a yuzu sorbet.

Kimino Drinks, bringing the yuzu to you

A special example of yuzu’s international appeal is Kimino. Led by German-born entrepreneur Markus Schlageter, the Japan-based company produces sparkling Japanese fruit juices for overseas export, and its flagship product is its Yuzu Sparkling Juice.

For the highest possible quality, Kimino uses yuzu hand-picked on Japan’s island of Shikoku, which is famous for its flourishing citrus industry. Water is sourced from the mountains of Hyogo Prefecture in western Japan, and the only other ingredient is a modest amount of organic sugar cane for a touch of sweetness. There aren’t artificial colors or flavorings that go into the final end product.

Though headquartered in Tokyo, Kimino also has a branch office in San Francisco to help it better serve customers and wholesale partners in the U.S. With how versatile and adaptable the fruit has shown itself to be, Yuzu Sparkling Juice becoming a hit in America doesn’t sound too far-fetched! We’re hoping to see this downright delicious product available globally soon.