I’ve discovered a wonderful new fruit. It makes fish taste better, you can make awesome mixed drinks with it, and you can put it in the bath – what could be cooler than that?
I’m talking about kabosu (カボス). One of my students’ families runs a kabosu farm in Gifu prefecture. When I was over there at their house one day, they gave me a whole grocery bag full of kabosu. I said, ‘Oh no, you really shouldn’t,’ and then they showed me a massive box that had just arrived from Gifu full of them. Then, I was like, ‘okay.’
Kabosu is a citrus fruit that’s related to yuzu (柚子) but is juicier has a more lemony bite to it. It’s also sometimes a greener color. My students said this is because it can be harvested earlier than lemons or yuzu.
It’s the juice that really makes kabosu rock, and this is why it’s used as a flavoring for food, especially fish. The best use of kabosu I’ve found for food is to squeeze a little over your sanma (サンマ – pike). It’s used as flavoring for a number of different foods and also used in cooking, adding a citrusy touch to whatever you’re making.
How Kabosu Makes Shochu Go Down Smoother
Anybody who knows my lush side well knows that I have a weakness for lemony alcohol drinks. They’re the only fruity ones I’ll touch and if there were even the slightest bit sweet, I wouldn’t touch them. Well, it turns out that kabosu makes an awesome cocktail.
What you do is you cut the fruit in half, pick out as many seeds as possible, and then squeeze over a glass with a couple fingers of shochu (焼酎 – ‘the hard stuff’ or ‘Japanese firewater). There’s so much juice in that baby it’ll fill up your glass and maybe even a second one. Stir and enjoy.
Actually, kabosu works better for me as a drink because it’s not quite as sour as lemon. It still a soft side, like lime. My wife takes kabosu juice sans booze, so all of you non-drinkers out there can enjoy it as well.
Kabosu In The Bath Water
You can then take your used up rinds and put them into your bath water. According to a friend of mine, it’s great for soothing sore muscles, achy joints, back pain and any other stiffness you’ve got. He says it kind of turns your bath into an onsen (温泉 – hot springs). It gives the bath a nice, aromatic odor.
From what I’ve heard, kabosu juice has made its appearance in the supermarkets of the West in a little bottle, along with yuzu and sudachi (スダチ), another Japanese citrus fruit. I’ve also seen bottles of kabosu juice sold on Amazon for a pretty hefty price. Then again, it’s pretty expensive here in Japan outside of certain areas where it’s grown.