Monday, May 9, 2011

Yuzu Shu Confession

Way back in the wilds of December I set my first batch of yuzushu to steep. A similar process to umeshu, one simply sets the fruit in shochu (essentially straight alcohol) with lots of sugar. A classic recipe in many regards, and one of the easiest ways to make your own liquor. After a week I fished out the rinds and made a batch of marmalade with them (mottainai and all that), and then set the jar back in its corner for further brewing.

Time passed. I think I was meant to take the fruit out before we left for America, but that didn't happen. I thought about taking it out when we returned in March, but other things occurred that distracted me.

So on a rainy afternoon in nearly early May just after finishing a batch of rhubarb butter I decided it was time to extract the fruit. Yuzu is notoriously strong-flavored, and so I was rather worried that it might taste like...crap.

The amount fits rather nicely into four quart jars, and the fruit looks more than ready to be turned into some kind of jam-like substance that I haven't dreamed up just yet. (I'm imagining it with mint and maybe apples.) As I got closer to the bottom the yuzushu came out cloudier, and the final jar resembles a wheat beer in color and texture.

For purely scientific purposes we sampled each jar to determine whether or not there was a difference in flavor. The pure gold jar had a bit of a fiery kick, while the opaque yuzushu was slightly sweeter. The aroma distinctly reminded me of my marmalade, which also has me wondering about tossing in some ginger next time around, too. Meanwhile, back to the sampling...


bookworm said...

My spouse works with produce in his job. Neither of us had heard of Yuzu. This was fascinating - spouse learned about a fruit new to him - I look forward to reading some of your other posts. Glad I found your blog through the Blogathon.

ladymoxie said...

Oooh I want to try to make this. I love homemade brews!

Kris @ Attainable Sustainable said...

So, I poked around at some of your links, trying to figure out if I could replicate this here in Hawaii. Could vodka be used instead of shochu? And what of the yuzu? Is their a counterpart that could be found here? Lemons? Oranges? I'd love to try something like this!

Joan Lambert Bailey said...

I'm so glad, bookworm!! Yuzu is great, although very difficult to find outside of Japan. It's possible, but it's crazy expensive from what I hear. Thanks for stopping by!

ladymoxie, I would highly recommend giving something similar a go. It's ridiculously easy, and now that I've got a wee bit of confidence I'm going to charge forward with rhubarb. Or whatever else I see a bumper crop of throughout the year.

Kris, I would completely recommend any kind of citrus. There's a great article from the NYTimes about this. I'm looking for it right now, but it also sounds like fun.

Now, to answer your questions: Yes, I think you could use vodka. In place of the yuzu you could, as I mentioned use any citrus, but you could shoot for limes with lemons or another tangy citrus. As I mentioned above I'm going to give rhubarb a shot, but I also think kiwi would be good as would apple, pear, etc. Sky's the limit, really. Keep me posted on your results!

Joan Lambert Bailey said...

Aha! Here's the link.

Seems like a follow-up blog post should be in the works...I'll get right on that!

Garden4Life said...

Ok.. Now I see what you mean and I'm inspired to try making it. It sounds great.