Nature has always fascinated me, right from the childhood days. Be it the beautiful rainbow or the colorful butterflies or the thunderstorms and lightning, everything in nature has a uniqueness and beauty. As I grew up, the novelty faded away. I got used to rainbows, butterflies and flowers that were no more fascinating. But, nature will never disappoint you, as it is a treasure of some of the beautiful, strange as well as scary things. One fine morning, you may come across something that you would have never seen or heard of in your life. The same happened to me when I chanced upon the images of a strange citrus fruit, while surfing the internet. The citrus fruit, named Buddha's hand actually had finger-like structures! Once again, I was left in utter awe of the nature's brilliance. If you have never heard about this fruit, continue reading this NutriNeat article for a brief overview of the same.
What is Buddha's Hand Fruit?
The name Buddha's hand may appear strange to you. You may infer that the fruit is so named after its finger-like structures. It could be right to some extent. But, the name has some religious connections too. Before starting with its religious links, let us take a look at some of the basics of this fruit.
✿ The Buddha's hand fruit tree is believed to have originated in the northeastern parts of India or China.
✿ It is actually a shrub with large leaves that are oblong in shape with serrated edges. As in most of the other citrus types, this tree too has thorns on its stems.
✿ The flowers are purplish white in color with a good citrus fragrance. Even the tender leaves of the tree are found to have a purplish tinge.
✿ The fruits, as they develop, have a brownish color (due to the purplish tinge). As they grow, the tips of these fruits start dividing into finger-like structures.
✿ Ripe fruits have a bright yellow rind, which is highly fragrant. These fruits have very little or no flesh inside. So, there may not be any juicy pulp or seeds.
✿ A Buddha's hand fruit can have five to twenty fingers. One of the oldest known citrus fruits, this fruit is also known as fingered citron, fragrant citron, five finger mandarin, etc.
Why the Name Buddha's Hand Fruit?
As mentioned above, the name of this citrus fruit may be derived from its finger-like structures. However, there is another story about the origin of this name. As per this story, this fruit was once a popular offering in Buddhist temples. It is believed that Buddha likes the fruit with its fingers closed, as it resembles a closed hand, as in prayer. It is also said that the fruit resembles Buddha's hand, when he was praying and hence the name. So, the name of this fruit may be derived from its religious link. Even today, Chinese and Japanese people consider it as a symbol of happiness, good luck and fortune. They carry these fruits with them or display them in their homes. It is still one of the important offerings in temples of this region. This plant is also grown for ornamental purposes. The fruits are used as room fresheners and can also be found as an ingredient in traditional medicine.
How to Eat Buddha's Hand Fruit?
This citrus fruit is not commonly used for culinary purposes. However, unlike other lemons, the rind is not bitter in this citrus variety.The pulp (if there is any) may have a sour taste. The zest of this fruit is used in some marmalades and for imparting a lemony taste in certain beverages. It is also used as a flavoring in fish dishes. You may also find it as an ingredient in some types of candies, ice creams and yogurts. If you want, you may slice and consume the fingers of this fruit. You may also use the slices in salads. If you are really interested in consuming this fruit, collect some Buddha's hand fruit recipes and prepare them at home.
The above said was a brief compilation of some fascinating facts about Buddha's hand fruit. Hope you found it interesting.