Kristie Leong M.D. is a family practitioner who believes in the power of nutrition and a healthy lifestyle to prevent and fight illness.
The Cost of Yuzu Fruit
Why is yuzu fruit so expensive? The cost of food, including fruit, is rising, but some fruit is more expensive at the supermarket than others. If you’re lucky enough to find it, you’ll discover that yuzu fruit tops the list of pricey fruits.
If you’re not familiar with yuzu fruit, it’s an aromatic citrus fruit somewhat like a grapefruit. It originated in China more than 1,000 years ago, but it’s best known as a favorite of Japan, where it’s prized by the Japanese for its distinctive aroma and flavor.
People describe the flavor of yuzu fruit as sour or tart, but not pithy like a grapefruit or bitter like other citrus fruits (such as lemon). It’s a bit sweeter than the average lemon and has faint undertones of mandarin orange. The yellow-colored rind holds essential oils, which are responsible for yuzu’s aroma and flavor.
Yuzu Fruit Is Nutrient-Dense
Like most fruits, yuzu is nutritious, being a good source of vitamin A, vitamin C, and potassium. Plus, this trio of nutrients is important for heart health. Yuzu fruit also contains antioxidants, natural substances that help neutralize free radicals. that damage cells and cause illness or aging. So, you’re doing something good for your body when you bite into yuzu fruit.
Why Yuzu Fruit Is So Expensive
Not only is yuzu fruit hard to source, but if you are lucky enough to find it, you’ll pay a staggering price to enjoy its tart goodness. The best place to look for this tantalizing fruit is at a Japanese grocery or specialty store, but expect to pay as much as $20 per pound for these fragrant beauties.
The reason yuzu fruit is so expensive has to do with low supply and high demand. Global demand for the fruit has surged in the past decade, and there’s not enough to meet the desire of people to have this fruit on their table.
Trees that bear yuzu fruit are native only to Asia and are hard to grow outside of their native region. The plant itself is hardy and grows well in cold climates, but the tree takes several years to bear fruit. The price of this already costly fruit is even higher when they come from small organic farms in Japan. Most yuzu trees grow in Japan and, even there, they are difficult to harvest.
One of the most popular ways to consume yuzu fruit is in the form of yuzu juice and, as you might expect, the juice is expensive. Each yuzu fruit yields little juice when you extract it (about 1/4 oz.), making it a time-consuming process to produce a single cup of juice from the fruit.
All harvesting of yuzu fruit is done by hand using sharp knives that make a clean cut. Machines could damage the delicate rinds of these fruits. Hand harvesting also contributes to its high cost since labor costs will be high as well.
There's a Growing Demand for Yuzu Fruit
To increase the supply of yuzu fruit, more areas of the world are starting to grow yuzu fruit, including Australia, New Zealand, the Mediterranean, South Africa, and the west coast of the United States. But since demand still exceeds supply, the price of the fruit juice remains high.
One factor increasing the demand for yuzu fruit is the desire to use it as an exotic ingredient in upscale recipes and food products. It’s also popular as a flavoring agent because of its tart taste and distinctive aroma. The tartness is like that of a lemon or grapefruit, but some people describe it as a blend of lime, mandarin orange, and grapefruit combination.
How to Enjoy the Flavor of Yuzu Fruit
Yuzu is particularly popular in Japan and Southeast Asia, where it’s used to flavor both savory and sweet dishes. If you’re lucky enough to find it, here are some ideas for using it in your own recipes. Use yuzu fruit:
- As a garnish for savory dishes and drinks
- As a replacement for lemon juice in baked goods
- Juice it into a refreshing beverage or smoothie base
- Squeeze the juice from a fresh yuzu fruit and add to sparkling water.
- Use yuzu fruit to make jams and marmalades.
- Add yuzu fruit to cold dishes, like pasta salads.
- On an appetizer tray.
- To marinate meat and seafood and to make sauces and salad dressings.
- As an infusion to flavor soup stocks
Why Is Yuzu Fruit So Expensive?
Hopefully, you now have a better idea of why yuzu fruit is prized and why it costs more than other fruits. It’s a distinctive fruit with an enticing flavor with high appeal and low supply. If you get a chance, try it!
"13 Emerging Benefits and Uses of Yuzu Fruit - Healthline." 03 Jan. 2020, https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/yuzu-fruit.
Abe H, Ishioka M, Fujita Y, Umeno A, Yasunaga M, Sato A, Ohnishi S, Suzuki S, Ishida N, Shichiri M, Yoshida Y, Nakajima Y. Yuzu (Citrus junos Tanaka) Peel Attenuates Dextran Sulfate Sodium-induced Murine Experimental Colitis. J Oleo Sci. 2018 Mar 1;67(3):335-344. doi: 10.5650/jos.ess17184. Epub 2018 Feb 19. PMID: 29459515. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29459515/
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.