Just like my craft store problem, I have a problem with going to Russo's in Watertown. There are so many new and exciting fruits and veggies (not to mention cheeses, breads, dried fruits, etc) there that I have trouble not buying EVERYTHING I see. Case in point - the Buddha's hand.
The Buddha's hand is native to central Asia and is believed to be the first citrus to be brought into Europe. They're large and heavy and delightfully citrusy. Imagine what is so great about lemon peel - but all the way through the fruit. There's no juicy pulp, and the white flesh beneath the peel is not remotely bitter. In fact, the Buddha's hand is a bit sweeter than a lemon. It can be used wherever you would use lemon zest, and it can be eaten raw or cooked.
When I bought mine, the cashier asked if I knew what it was, and I said yes, a Buddha's hand. She asked if I knew how to use it, and I admitted that I wasn't entirely sure, but I knew you could make liqueur with it or candy the peel. She gave me a look like I was crazy to be buying an $8 fruit with no plan for use.
When it came to actually using the Buddha's hand, I decided on the liqueur route. I've been wanting to make my own flavored vodkas for a while, so this was a good kick in the pants for me to actually give the process a try. I diced up the citron, added it to canning jars, and poured about 750 ml of 100 proof vodka over the top of each jar. In the photo above, the jar on the left has had the vodka added while the jar on the right is waiting to get boozy. These will sit in my (cold and dark) closet for the next two weeks, getting a shake every now and then, until I'm ready to sweeten it up with some simple syrup.
This stuff should definitely make the holidays more fun ;)