Cooking with Trifoliate Orange or Yuzu?

Has anyone cooked with Trifoliate Orange aka Flying Dragon OR Yuzu? I wonder how they compare in flavor to your standard limes/lemons. They are so useful in the kitchen and well… these could be nice alternatives in cold climates.

Pretty sure my Improved Meyer lemon uses it as rootstock for some reason (improved hardiness?). It was a surprise because there was no visible graft union but when I used the notch technique to get a lower branch its leaves were totally different. Kind of left me scratching my head until I found the the leaf pattern on Google. The fact that its used as rootstock and this line from wiki makes me think its not very good for eating:

The fruits are very bitter, due in part to their poncirin content. Most people consider them inedible fresh, but they can be made into marmalade.

Trifoliate is disgusting because the oil gets in the juice. Yuzu does good lemon duty, but not much juice at all. Sudachi or kabosu will be better than Yuzu. As for trifoliate, the hybrids like citrumelo or citrange are a huge improvement.


Do you know anyone successfully growing Sudachi in ground in Z7?


You apparently have never smelled fresh trifoliate juice. Marmalade? Really? Only for heavy smokers with a cold.

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@mrtexas I was quoting from wikipedia but your post made me laugh out loud.

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If you want to reduce the bitterness of the rinds you can parboil them. They can then be made into candied rinds. I’ve never tried the marmalade but some folks seem to like it in the South.

I think bitter lemons are better than no citrus at all, at least the bitter lemons that grow wild in places around me (NC). Based on the taste descriptions I hear from other parts of the country I think they must taste different when grown in different climates or with different soils… The juice is extremely sour, but I (and everyone else I know that has tried them locally, probably close to a dozen people total) don’t taste any strong off flavors (not counting the sourness.) The biggest problem I see with bitter lemons as a lemon juice substitute is that they’re small and the inside is packed so full of seeds there’s hardly any flesh in them from which to squeeze juice. I measured it once, and if I’m remembering correctly, which I might not be, I got an average of just under a half teaspoon of juice per lemon.


Do you wear gloves while juicing so the sticky resin the fruit has doesn’t get on your fingers? Must use paint thinner to get it off if you don’t.

rubbing alcohol will take the latex like resin off knifes, hands, and pots but I agree gloves are the way to go.

Am I the only one dumb enough to try drinking Citris hystrix (aka Kaffir Lime) juice?

The leaves and whole fruit smelled so good, I thought I was onto something. That ruined my mouth for a day or two. :frowning:

I assume trifoliate juice is something like that. I’m wary. I have a trifoliate seedling rootstock that has been in my nursery bed a few years. I never got around to budding yuzu onto it. It looks like its about to flower. Hopefully it will produce some fruit I can mess around with.


ha ha, I love Kaffir Lime juice and had a lot when I was young. You can let it ripen until they turn orange/yellow but even then it is usually diluted with water, combined with sugar and sometimes with a pinch of cardamom powder. The trees I saw then were likely grown from seed and the fruits were bigger (may be ripening them more increases the size?) than what I find here in the US.


I can’t imagine what you tasted is the same as what I tasted. Either the juice was different, or we may have different bitter taste receptors, which I know can make a huge difference on how things taste.

I never tasted bitterness in the juice, but more strong acid/sourness than lemon. Its possible the fruits sweeten up much more in the tropics than here. I never tried the juice from locally grown fruits.

It wasn’t anything it lacked that made it unpalatable. It smelled delicious and looked nice. There was a bitterness to the oils that had staying power.

I’ll admit, I’m generally not a fan of citrus oils, from even mild common fruits like oranges, lemons and limes. I think my palate is especially sensitive to some bitter flavors that other people may not taste.

Also, I think I let them yellow on the tree before picking. It was many years ago, so my recollections are suspect.

Our neighbor has a huge Yuzu tree that produces hundreds of fruit. Naturally we get a lot of them to eat. Yuzu is sour and bitter, emphasis on bitter. But, it’s bitterness is complex, and once you get over the shock of the flavor it becomes rather addictive. We have made Yuzu sorbet several times (very refreshing), and the neighbor makes marmalade (very different and good in small amounts). I can’t say I am eager to get another bag of fruit, but I wouldn’t wince either.

I had this problem a few times with different citrus fruits. If you try to extract the juice by crushing the outer skin, the bitter citrus oil will leach into the juice. This is also the case with oranges but after I switched to a cheap citrus squeezer, the bitterness and stinging in the lips went away.

I’m reviving this topic because I just discovered this species growing in a naturalized manner about 10 miles north of NYC- coming form CA I was surprised to see an apparent lemon-type tree growing robustly in this climate zone- the tree looked old enough to have been through at least a couple of true winters with temps around 0F

Trees on the edge of the property, part of a kind of hedgerow leading to forest trees, were loaded with fruit. I just squeezed some out of a piece of fruit by hand and the flavor was pleasing with only a slight bitterness on the back of my throat which isn’t a real problem to my palate. The down side is that they aren’t as sour or acidic as lemons which means the juice is less useful for culinary use.

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The fruit on this tree is very thin skinned, unlike wiki photo… Trifoliate orange - Wikipedia
That slight bitterness certainly has staying power.