“Good Luck Buddhacello” made with Buddha’s Hand Citron



In December of 2011 I posted my “Buddha’s Hand Good Luck Marmalade” recipe and to date it is still one of my most popular posts. It even got a mention in an article on Smithsonian.com written by K. Annabelle Smith, “What the Heck Do I Do with a Buddha’s Hand?” from which I still get a few hits every week. Thanks K. Annabelle.

This most mysterious of the citrons are once again showing up in the markets…only in December in Nashville does the Buddha’s Hand, or “finger citron” for obvious reasons, appear for a few short weeks.

Buddha's Hand Still Life on Gingko Leaves, 5th Avenue North
Buddha’s Hand Still Life on Gingko Leaves, 5th Avenue North

I am not sure why I am so seduced but each winter I purchase a few. They spend some time in our fruit bowl ripening and scenting the entire house with a light citrus aroma. Very subtle but pleasing. Anyone who drops by is equally smitten. Friends pick them up and play with them…you know who you are e.e….smell them, turn and twist them and finally ask what in heck they are.  All in all they are lots of fun to have around before I actually do something with them in the kitchen.

e.e. with Buddha’s Hands…

“Buddhacello” liqueur is this year’s recipe.  As well as Candied Buddha’s Hand that is  yummy decorating the top of a cake,  and a very aromatic simple syrup for drizzling on pound cakes or adding to some Holiday cocktails….. all of which from these two Buddha’s Hand Citrons.


(In previous posts I have shared my “Mellow Yellow Limoncello” and “Blood Orangecello” recipes and stories.) The process is simple but the finished liqueur is anything but….


A vegetable peeler and a bottle of good vodka…..


….a large glass jar with a tight-fitting lid for holding the liquid and for safe shaking…


…and patience is a good thing as well. The wait will be worth it.


Two words….”dark place”. Yes, put this jar of glowing yellow into a dark, cool place…a closet or cabinet…for 4  to 6 weeks. Shake every so often. If you start now you can have your own Buddhacello ready for gift giving or sipping on cold winter nights.

Meanwhile….tick, tock…tick, tock..the days pass…lots of things to do….cold and dark nights….inside the dark place chemistry is happening….

After 4 weeks, I strain out the peel, add some of the simple syrup left over from making the candied peel to the vodka mixture and leave in the “dark place” one more week….decant into individual bottles. Store a bottle in the freezer and serve icy cold straight or with a splash of soda water over ice or added to a hot toddy to make a cold night warmer.


Good Luck Buddhacello



  • 2 Buddha’s Hand Citron (or use grapefruit, orange, or lemon peel)
  • 6 cups good Vodka
  • 1 cup simple syrup – 1 cup sugar melted in 1 cup water or use the syrup from the candied peel if you make this

Directions for Buddhacello:

  1. Using a sharp vegetable peeler remove peel & pith to make at least 3 cups of strips.
  2. Place strips of Buddha’s Hand into a large glass jar.
  3. Pour in vodka, tighten lid and shake well.
  4. Place jar in a cool dark place for 4 to 6 weeks, shaking a few times a week.
  5. After the 4 to 6 weeks, strain out the peel from the vodka and stir in 1 cup of Buddha’s Hand simple syrup saved from making candied peel, or any plain store-bought or homemade simple syrup.
  6. For making a simple syrup at home put 1 cup sugar plus 1 cup water in a sauce pan over med high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring often until sugar is melted. Remove from heat and let cool completely.
  7. Tighten the lid on the jar, shake well and return to the cool dark closet or cabinet for another week. Strain & decant Buddhacello Liqueur into individual bottles or jars. Store or give as gifts.
  8. Serve icy cold straight, or over ice with a splash of soda water. Also makes a great drizzle over pound cake or ice cream.

Directions for Candied Peel:

  1.  Chop 2 cups of Buddha’s Hand Citron into small chunks. Place in a pan of water and simmer for about 45 minutes or until the chunks are somewhat transparent. Remove from heat and drain.
  2. Place chunks in a larger pan with just enough water to cover and 2 cups white sugar. Bring to a low boil, stirring often. Turn to simmer. Cook until a candy thermometer reads about 200 to 225 degrees. Remove pan from heat. Let sit for about 1 hour to cool down.
  3. Pour candied chunks of Buddha’s Hand into a strainer set over a bowl to catch the syrup. Let drain for about 30 minutes. Reserve syrup, storing in a glass jar in the refrigerator until ready to use for other recipes.
  4. Toss candied chunks in a bowl with 1 cup of sugar until pieces are well coated. Scrape out onto a cooling rack set over a parchment paper covered pan. Leave overnight to harden. Shake to remove excess sugar & store in an airtight tin or jar. Great for topping desserts or adding to cookies.

Teresa Blackburn   http://www.teresablackburnfoodstyling.com   http://www.foodonfifth.com

“Buddha’s Hand Good Luck Marmalade”

  “Buddha’s Hand Citron

Tis the season for citrus…Rio Star Grapefruits, Honey Bells, Clementines, Kumquats…markets have piles & piles of seasonal citrus from all over the world so when I brought my grocery cart to a screeching halt in front of a pile of these fascinating “creatures” earlier this week I knew it was the time to take some Buddha’s Hand Citron home to my kitchen. Upon arriving home I was greeted by our “front porch Buddha” ….I went into the kitchen where there is a photo of a Buddha statue over the sink…(see photo gallery below)…hmmmm..this is  food for thought.

I am very drawn to objects/foods that have an “unearthly” quality…in fact Buddha’s Hands look  like much sea life I have encountered while snorkeling in the Caribbean…they could just as easily be attached to a coral reef as be sitting on my kitchen counter.  What to do with these beauties? For a couple of days I just left them sitting around…they are beautiful in shape & made an interesting centerpiece…they smelled good. They are very popular in China and Japan at New Year’s as they are believed to bestow good fortune on a household. This nugget I learned yesterday so was even more happy to have them just sitting around!

After a bit of surfing I found little in the way of recipes on the internet…uses in salads & a few recipes for preserving…lots of info about the history, origin (China/Japan/India now grown in California as well) folklore & beliefs attached to these hands, but little in the way of recipes….so lack of information led me to …citrus = marmalade.

“Buddha’s Hand Good Luck Marmalade”

A rich caramel colored marmalade with hints of cardamom & balsamic vinegar.

Recipe/Ingredients (this recipe would also work with any fresh, seasonal citrus):

1 Buddha Hand Citron(rinsed & wiped dry)

3 cups raw/or white sugar

1/4 cup of your local honey

4 cups water

1 cardamom pod slightly crushed

1 cup fresh squeezed citrus juice (I use Rio Star Grapefruit & Clementine juice)

2 TBSP Balsamic Vinegar Syrup/Reduction


1. With a vegetable peeler cut the peel & most of the pith (it is not bitter like most citrus) from the Buddha Hand.

2. Into a large enamel or stainless steel pan add the peel-pith, sugar, honey, water, cardamom pod & juice. Stir to mix well. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce heat to low & simmer mixture for about 45 minutes until liquid is reduced by a bit more than half. Stir frequently as liquid is reduced & thickens.

3. Remove cardamom pod & stir in balsamic syrup/reduction. Simmer for another 10 minutes or until a candy thermometer reads 220 degrees.

4. While marmalade is cooking sterilize two glass canning jars in hot water or hot oven for a few minutes. Remove from water & dry with a clean towel. Fill jars with rich caramel colored hot marmalade mixture & seal with lids. Let jars cool completely & store in refrigerator until ready to use (keeps for weeks or give away a jar for more good luck).

My “Buddha’s Hand Good Luck Marmalade” ready for my “tea & toast test”.

 Hot buttered toast with marmalade & Chia tea…cozy & yummy..I am feeling lucky with every bite…

Thematic Gallery of Buddhas & Hands:

Food on Fifth front porch Buddha head.
Over the sink Buddha photo.
Dizzy Buddha heads.
Buddha Hand diptych.
Bedside Buddhas - brown wooden Buddha I have had since I was a child...from Uncle James, in Japan.
Not-a-Buddha Hand with rings.
Little Buddha head in a box.
Buddha Hand citron on photo of a hand.
Buddha with serving platter, Malaysia.
Three Buddha Hands on platter.
Two Buddhist monks, Malaysia.
Buddha Head ashtray sighted at an antique mall in Nashville this week. Who knew?

I will end this last post of 2011 with this “Buddha Bar” story that was online this week on NPR:


Have a healthy, happy & kind new year….see you in 2012 my friends.