Buddha’s Hand: A Very Exotic Fruit

The buddha’s hand, also known as the fingered citron, has to be one of the wackiest exotic fruits.  Probably the most unique feature of the buddha’s hand is its shape, and the buddha’s hand is most likely the most interesting of all the exotic fruits I’ve written about so far.

The name, buddha’s hand, is a very appropriate name to give to the fruit.  The shape of the buddha’s hand is extremely strange, and possibly even scary to some.  It’s pretty hard to describe the shape, but I’ll just say it looks like a bunch of yellow-colored tentacles hanging down from the fruit.

Buddha's hand

A "closed" buddha's hand fruit. Photo credit: wonderferret


Buddha’s hand is actually a part of the citrus family, and has a very fragrant smell.  It is believed to have originated either in northeastern India or China.

The buddha’s hand, or fingered citron, is actually used more as a natural room freshener than eaten as a fruit.  This is because the buddha’s hand doesn’t contain very much flesh; the peel is very thick and the flesh is acidic and juiceless.

Just because the buddha’s hand doesn’t contain very much flesh doesn’t mean it’s useless in the kitchen.  The peel of the fingered citron can be candied to make a very delicious and sweet succade.  The zest of the buddha’s hand is very rich and is often used in Western cooking.  The fingers of the buddha’s hand are also frequently used in salads and cooked dishes in some Asian cuisines.

The buddha’s hand plays a huge role in Asian and Buddhist culture.  The most common use of the buddha’s hand is to act as a natural room freshener, without any side effects.  For example, Chinese and Japanese people use the fruit to perfume both rooms and personal items such as clothes.

The buddha’s hand is also sometimes given as an offering in Buddhist temples.  In tradition, the Buddha prefers the “fingers” of the fruit to be closed, rather than open, symbolizing prayer.

Further reading

  1. Top 100 Exotic Food Plants

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