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The Buddha’s Hand

I went to my local farmer’s market the other day and came upon a bin full of yellow fruit, each with a disturbing number of fingers that seemed frozen in midwave.  Their skins were the texture of navel oranges, and I could smell how ripe they were the moment I passed through the market’s front doors.  The name above the bin was “Buddha’s Hand,” and I couldn’t argue with such a creepy-looking piece of produce.

According to Wikipedia, the Buddha’s Hand is used commonly in Chinese and Japanese cultures as both a fragrant ornament and as a perfume for items like clothing and rooms.  It’s also used in India as an offering to Buddha himself.  They have almost little to no inner pulp, but the skin can be grated or sliced for salads, jams and candies.

I’m no connoisseur of fruits, let alone fruits outside of the United States, but even I never thought I’d see something like that.  I will say this—it certainly works.  I propped it up on my kitchen table for about two weeks, and every time I passed through, I received a fresh, sweet scent of citrus.

At about $4.50 a pound, it unfortunately won’t be a regular on my shopping list.  It’s definitely something I would consider as a substitute for commercial sprays during the holidays, especially if you plan on having guests over.  Anything that starts the evening with “What the heck is that?” sounds like fun to me.

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