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Have you heard of this exotic Japanese fruit that so diverse that it can be used as a juice, an aromatic flavouring for delicacies, a baking ingredient, making perfumery and baths? Its name is Yuzu, and it can be found primarily in Asian countries like Japan, on the island of Shikoku.

If you aren't familiar with Yuzu, here are a few reasons why.

1. Yuzu is incredibly rare, not because of low yield, but because there isn't a lot of juice in each fruit. You can have a flourishing tree that is full of Yuzu fruit, but after expressing its juice, you might just only have enough to fill a grande cup.

2. Yuzu doesn't flower easily, in fact, it may take as long as a decade before you can witness its first bloom. In addition, the time and effort to care and nurture the Yuzu plant takes more than just patience. It requires consistent care and attention, especially during the winter season where it is most likely to wither if not taken care of properly.

3. Yuzu is more often used as an ingredient or flavouring instead of an actual dish. Although you don't get much juice from the fruit, it is packed with delicious oils that hold up fairly well to cooking without compromising on its citrus flavour. That's why you seldom see Yuzu on your menu, but it has become an important ingredient to some dishes and sauces.

 Benefits of Yuzu

Apart from taking an irreplaceable place in Asian cuisine, Yuzu also earns a spot in wellness, thanks to its vitamin C rich components.

1. Improves mood

Yuzu has stress-reducing properties and it is known to get rid of negativity in the environment, thus improving the mood of those who are angsty, depressed and emotionally stressed. Inhaling Yuzu during your regular activities such as exercising, yoga and meditation can also help to elevate your mood and make you feel better throughout the day.

2. Relieves inflammation

Yuzu helps to neutralize harmful free radicals that cause inflammation and chronic diseases. Those suffering from skin problems such as psoriasis, eczema or acne may find Yuzu useful in managing the inflammation.

3. Reduce signs of ageing

Yuzu contains twice the number of vitamin C in a normal lemon fruit. Vitamin C is responsible for the repair of body tissues and the formation of collagen. This, in turn, helps to keep the skin naturally healing, slowing down the ageing process, and keeping your skin looking youthful for a long time.

4. Sun protection

 As a natural antioxidant, Yuzu proves itself to be an effective shield from the sun, relieving oxidative stress from the skin. This is also attributable to the fact that Vitamin Cs are known to lessen the damage caused by UV radiation.

Planting Yuzu

Yuzu grows well in sunny areas and on non-calcareous soil. It should be placed in a pierced-bottom terracotta pot to ensure that the soil is well-drained when the plant is watered.

You should water it regularly during its growth and lesser during its vegetative rest. But do pay attention to the language of this plant - if you see its leaves pointing upwards, it means that the plant is thirsty and is in need of some watering. Likewise, downward pointing leaves will signify an excess of water. Ideally, you should never leave the soil completely dry between two waterings, but you should not leave stagnant water in the pot either.

Like all potted plants, you should repot your Yuzu every 2 to 3 years so that it stays in shape as it grows.

During its growth, you will need to shelter it from frost, especially during the winter. If your Yuzu is planted in open soil, you can cover its base with a layer of dead leaves to protect the soil from frosting up during the harsh winter nights. And in the summer, you can place your potted Yuzu out in the sun, but still away from the wind that dries its leaves.

 The harvest for Yuzu takes place in the last quarter of the year, typically around October to December. If you don't see fruits this year, don't be disheartened as it may take a long time until you can see its first fruit.

What Can I Do With Yuzu?

If its the winter season in your area, add some Yuzu into your bath like how the Japanese do it during the Winter Solstice to keep winter ailments like colds and flu at bay. Or, you can whip up some dishes using this powerful flavonoid as a secret ingredient in your meats and sauces. Yuzu can also be expressed into juices for a morning boost to start your day, or an interesting ice cream flavour your kids and adults. If you extract its essential oil, you can concoct your own body lotion or creams that are catered to your own skin type.