Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Buddha's Hand Marmalade

When I walked into Whole Foods to see what kind of Citrus they had on hand I spotted a basket of Buddha's Hand Citrons. I have been intrigued by this fruit after seeing it used in an episode of Iron Chef and it was once featured in an issue of Cooks Illustrated. I just had to have it, but what the hell was I going to do with it? It smelled amazing! The peel was so fragrant and it perfumed my entire kitchen. I had to figure out a way to use it for the Can Jam.

I searched through all my books and nada.. Lots of other citrus recipes but nothing for the oddball Citron. Off to google I went and I found 1 recipe from a blog - Dan's Kitchen. I started with this as my base and varied slightly from there. In the linked recipe he mentions to use the only peel but I thought that it would waste too much of the fruit. In Harold McGee's book, On Food and Cooking, he mentions that most of the pectin is contained in the pith. I had a taste of the Buddha's Hand and it wasn't very bitter, so I decided to keep much of the pith from the fruit's fingers. I had 2 meyer lemons on hand that I added to mix. This added some moisture since the Buddha's hand lacked any pulp. I wasn't sure how the Amaretto would work here but I liked the idea of adding an almondy element, so I went with it.

I was very happy with the end result; this was my first attempt at any marmalade. The marmalade managed to keep the distinct fragrance that I loved about the fruit.

This recipe yielded almost 5 - 250ml Jars

1 Buddha's Hand Citron
2 Meyer Lemons
5 cups of water
3 cups of white sugar
2 tablespoons Lemon Juice
3 tablespoons Amaretto liquor (optional)

Break down the Buddha's Hand by cutting each "finger" and cut away peel from the base. Thinly slice the Buddha's Hand and Meyer lemons. Reserve the seeds from the Meyer lemons (the Buddha's hand had no seeds) wrap them in cheesecloth.  Place everything into a bowl and cover with the water to sit for about an hour.

Transfer the contents of the bowl into a pot and bring to a gentle boil for about 30-45 minutes. At this point remove the cheesecloth, let it cool and squeeze out any remaining liquid back into the pot. Add the sugar and Amaretto and stir until completely dissolved. Let the mixture come back to a gentle boil for 45-60 minutes until it reaches 217-220°C on a candy thermometer or do a set test on a small plate in the freezer. Stir in the lemon juice about 10 minutes before the cooking is complete.

Prepare your jars and lids for canning, I filled 5, 250ml jars with 1/2" of head space and hot water processed them for 10 minutes. Great instructions over at Tigress in a Jam on hot water bath canning.


  1. this looks quite delicious! is it very bitter?

  2. Now THAT is some cool looking citrus! I've never even seen one - I guess that's what I get for shopping at farmer's markets and never going to the store. :)

    Very impressive start for the Can Jam!

  3. tigress - not very bitter at all, think if it as a lemon marmalade with volume down low.

    localkitchen - I would have a loooong wait for any citrus to appear at any Toronto area farmer's markets ;) this is one ingredient we can't go local as far as I know.

  4. Wow! That is WILD citrus! Yum! I love the idea of almond and citrus - great idea!

  5. oh my - I can't get Buddha's hand in my local markets this time of year, but this marmalade sounds amazing. (and my list of what to make when-it's-next-in-season kees growing!)

  6. This is a funny-looking citrus. I've never heard of it, have to find out more about it. Your marmalade looks fantastic! I, on the other hand, wasn't very creative in what I contributed to the can jam this month: plain grapefruits, oranges and kumquats ;-).

  7. Looks good. Does the almond come through much?

  8. It just gives it a hint of almond, would be missed if no one told you.

  9. wow - I've never seen something like that before! Cool! Can Jam rocks

  10. Brilliant! I'll never forget the first time I saw Buddha's hand. It looks like some sort of creepy cephalopod.

  11. had buddha's hand at work once, and no idea what to make of it. very cool!

  12. thanks for your EASY recipe! my apartment smells so good, and all I've done is chopped!