Origin of Production: Tokushima Prefecture, Japan
Category: Kosan kankitsu (citrus with a distinct aroma and sharp acidity suitable for seasoning)
Harvest Seasons: Greenhouse sudachi is harvested from July to August, and those grown outdoors are mainly cropped in September. Sudachi is harvested and shipped while it’s green, but when ripe, it turns yellow like a Mandarin orange.
Shape / Size:
Sudachi is round and smaller than a golf ball. There are four sizes; L (30-33 mm in diameter), 2L (36-39mm), 3L (39-45mm), and Super Large (45+ mm). Despite the size difference, sudachi’s acidity and flavor are almost the same.
Taste profile: Sudachi exhibits a distinct tartness enveloped in a gentle, round and cumin-like spice flavor. It’s invigoratingly aromatic and refreshingly sour.
Other features and trivia:
- Sudachi contains more Vitamin C than lemons.
- It’s used in cooking in various styles, such as squeezing juice, slicing, and zesting. Whether splashing juice over a dish at finish or serving on the side as a condiment, sudachi elevates your dishes to a great extent.
- Sudachi juice is very versatile. It’s a premium seasoning and a great mixer in both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks.
- The name “sudachi” comes from the tradition of using its juice as “su” (cooking vinegar); hence, people started calling it “su-tachibana” (vinegary citrus plant). It’s considered that the citrus fruit grew naturally in the land of Tokushima as early as the 7th Century.
Sudachi from Tokushima Prefecture
Tokushima Prefecture is the number one producer of sudachi citrus in Japan, yielding more than 90 percent of the country’s gross production. Tokushima’s sudachi is renowned for its excellent quality, which gives it the nickname "Green Gem”. Tokushima boasts mild weather all year round, and the sunshine hours and rainfall in the area are perfect for cultivating aromatic and excellent quality sudachi. In summer, sudachi grows its branches and leaves vigorously by absorbing a plenty of rainwater while it receives an abundance of sunshine in the fruiting seasons. Also, it is believed that sudachi is originally native to Tokushima Prefecture, and people in the area already cultivated the citrus for using it as vinegar by Edo Period (1603-1868). With a pleasant aroma and tartness, sudachi from Tokushima draws each ingredient’s flavor very well and elevates attests of dishes whether they are Japanese, Western or Chinese cuisine. The greenhouse sudachi is shipped from March to August; the one grown outdoors from August to October; and the refrigerated one from October to March.
Sudachi in Culinary World
The juice of the sudachi has a multitude of culinary applications. It can be used in place of soy sauce, lime juice, or vinegar. You can also incorporate it into sauces, salad dressings, dipping sauces, and marinades for everything from fish to soba noodles. The juice is also ideal for many different desserts, such as cakes, ice cream, and pastry fillings.
Of course, it can be a great addition to cocktails, or non-alcoholic drinks such as seltzer, for a delicious and refreshing flavored soda without added sugar. In Tokushima, it is easy to find juices, cider, and wines made from sudachi limes.