Orange Coast Magazine

Taste of O.C. | Priscilla Mayfield on food


You’d be forgiven if you recoil the first time you see a Buddha’s hand citron. Said to be one of the oldest varieties of citrus, it looks like a large lemon that’s somehow split and separated into grotesquely gnarled fingers worthy of a horror movie. Look again, though, and—most importantly—sniff. The fruit’s incredible flowery fragrance immediately wins you over.

They’re in season now, and the nice people at Los Alamitos-based Frieda’s Produce sent me one the other day. I’ve been reveling in its ability to subtly perfume an entire room. This is apparently one of its major uses, though in years past I’ve chopped it up for chutney, and I imagine it would be fab for marmalade—which is likely the fate of my present specimen. But truly, for the aromatherapy alone it more than earns its keep.

I’ve bought it from backyard growers—there must have been a vogue for planting it some decades ago, because you’ll find it in home orchards in older neighborhoods. Farmers markets citrus specialists will often have it, conspicuously displayed among the more conventional round fruit, or of course you can always ask your supermarket produce manager to procure one from Frieda’s. Treat yourself. No other citrus does as much by just merely existing.


Leave a comment:

· Subscribe to comments
Be the first to comment here.

OC Guides


OC Guides
  • Neighborhoods: Rancho Santa Margarita

    Rancho Santa Margarita’s Plaza El Paseo is a South County suburban mall with a twist. It’s the unexpected finds—a little gem of a florist, cozy spots to sample tea and wine, and a top-notch steakhouse across the street—that put it in a league of its own. Read More
  • O.C.’s Best: Bloody Marys

    Get your vegetables and booze in one convenient—and delicious—serving with what’s been hailed as America’s murkiest and most complex cocktail. Traditionally made with tomato juice, vodka, celery salt, horseradish, Worcestershire, and Tabasco, its origins are widely debated. Here are five superb O.C. renditions of the world-famous drink.

    Read More
  • Hot O.C. Neighborhood: East Side Costa Mesa

    This updated neighborhood doesn’t have to try hard to be interesting, original, surprising, and modern—it just is. Take the mile-long stretch of strip malls along 17th Street, between Newport Boulevard and Irvine Avenue, the heart of the renaissance. Foodies come for the Instagram-worthy Aussie-style meat pies at PieNot, coconut French toast at Plums Café, and braised pork panini at Pitfire Artisan Pizza. And that’s just the Ps. Other homegrown restaurants and shops tip toward lean-and-clean fare, such as the casual Jan’s Health Bar. Plus it’s the birthplace of Mother’s Market & Kitchen. Read More
  • Hot O.C. Neighborhood: Downtown Anaheim

    With a focus on food and community, downtown’s fresh look gets inspiration from the city’s rural roots. It takes resourcefulness to restore and imaginatively reuse old buildings, qualities the city’s founding farming families had, too. The new energy is centered on the Packing District, a two-block stretch of Anaheim Boulevard between Santa Ana Street and East Broadway: the restored 1920s-era Packard Building, now home to Anaheim Brewery and Umami Burger, and the 1919 Anaheim Citrus Packing House, with a food hall of locally based food-and-beverage artisans. Read More
  • Neighborhoods: Costa Mesa

    Chain restaurants and stores dominate most of the strip malls on Costa Mesa’s east side. But at Santa Ana Avenue and 17th Street, look a little closer and you’ll find indie boutiques and cafes tucked in among the usual suspects Read More
wine blog

stuff we love

Charitable Events Calendar