Kabosu is a citrus fruit that tastes kind of like a cross between a lemon, lime, and yuzu. It gets harder to find the further you get from Oita Prefecture, on the southern Japanese island of Kyushu, because 98% of all kabosu production takes place there. Legend has it that the tree first arrived in Oita when an Edo period doctor from Kyoto brought a branch to the region and planted it.
Like most other citrus fruits, kabosu is a great source of Vitamin C. People in Oita believe that the vinegars from kabosu are critical for liver health and to stabilize blood pressure. My father is from there, so I grew up eating fish dipped in kabosu-infused soy sauce thinking this was completely ordinary. Because it has a distinct salty flavor, it's confident enough to go solo as a seasoning. Try it sometime!
By the way, if you have any ideas for Taste Test items — unusual fruits or vegetables, fun recipes for in-season produce, or a special condiment — send me an email: mango [at] tokyomango [dot] com.
Image via cabosu.com
Every installment of Taste Test will explore recipes, the science, and some history behind a specific food item.