You can’t miss it.
If you stroll through Cork’s English Market this week you’ll probably have noticed a box of gnarly, long-fingered, neon fruit sitting outside The Good Food Shop.
Altogether beautiful and creepy, a little sign inside the box explains that this is a Buddha’s Hand fruit – a unique Eastern Asian delicacy with no pulp and no seeds.
In Japan, where it’s a trusted lucky charm and a talisman for positive vibes, the fruit is a popular New Year’s gift. In China, the Buddha’s Hand represents longevity and happiness and people arrange it in table displays and on the altars of their temples.
Here in Cork, a bunch from this odd crop will set you back €9.99 but it will last about a month in the fridge so you should get plenty of opportunity to use it.
So how do you eat it?
The Hand of Buddha fruit is generally used more for cooking than for snacking. To use it you simply snap off a ‘finger’ and grate off the yellow peel.
The lemony/lavender scent of Buddha’s Hand is so delicious that it was once used to fragrance laundry. The peeled rind can be combined with potpourri or places on a warm windowsill to release its lovely citrus oils.
It’s delicious in a salad dressing (grate some peel into a bowl with some olive oil, seasoning and lemon juice and leave to marinate in the fridge overnight) and it also makes a mean cocktail addition – you could even grate some of the rind into a bottle of vodka and leave it to infuse for a few months.
Poking a full finger of Buddha’s Hand into the bottle could make it fun for Halloween too, but to give it a low-effort whirl, use a microplane to grate a bit into your gin and tonic.