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Topics - jim VH

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Cold Hardy Citrus / Kabosu
« on: December 22, 2020, 10:18:28 AM »
Kabosu is one of the three citrus commonly used by the Japanese to create Ponzu sauce, along with Yuzu and Sudachi.  Kabosu is said to be closely related to Yuzu.  The Yuzu is quite hardy in the Portland Metropolitan area, easily surviving freeze in January 2017 where the temperature dropped down to 8F (-13.3C) and the temperature never rose above freezing for 14 days.  Because of the close relation I was wondering if the Kabosu was also as hardy, but was unable to find any definitive  information.

So, a few years ago I found a Kabosu at Mckenzie farms.  It was, unfortunately, on a Citrange rootstock  These rootstocks do not survive the extended freezes here in the Portland area, and in fact the rootstock did die in January 2017.   Before the rootstock died, however, The top looked pretty good, with little defoliation and no obvious damage.  This gives hope for it's hardiness.

Fortunately, with foresight, before that freeze, I grafted the Kabosu onto a Poncirus Trifoliate (PT ) rootstock and put it in the ground and it is now about 4 feet tall.

This is also the first year with a significant crop of fruit, 22 in total.  Three were given away, the remaining 19 weighed a bit over 4 lbs (1.8 Kilos).  Segments of the fruit are surprisingly sweet, given that it is an acid fruit.  About grapefruit sweet, without the grapefruit bitter.  The flavor is milder than a Yuzu without the slight 'skunk' that some people find offensive.  It would make a good Meyers lemon substitute, with some extra overtones that- not being a gastronomical expert- I won't attempt to describe.  The fruit also appear to be larger on average than the Yuzu, as shown in the image.  From left to right below are

Kabosu   Yuzu  Sudachi

The fruit are surprisingly seedless, with only two fruit out of the 19 having seeds for a total of six.  Shown below are a few of the fruit and a ruler, with three cut open.  For comparison, at the bottom are also a cut open Yuzu and Sudachi.

The fruit were then converted to marmalade, a process which involves separating out the juice, membranes and peels.  I took advantage of this by measuring the Brix level of the juice with a calibrated wine testing hygrometer and the acid level by titrating 15 ml of the juice with a o.2N NaOh solution.  The results are :

           Brix:  10.2%
           Acid level: 4.3%
           Sugar to Acid ratio:  2.37

When I sampled the juice I found it quite sour, which made me wonder why a fruit segment tasted so sweet.  So I sampled some of the chopped up membranes and found them quite sweet, with surprisingly little bitterness compared to most citrus, including the Yuzu and Sudachi.  I then sampled the chopped up peel and found it also relatively sweet and low bitter, though not quite as sweet as a Kumquat.

It made four pints (4 lbs.-"a pints a pound the world around") of very good marmalade, which tastes like lemon pie..  The nice thing about marmalade is that there is very little wastage. 

So now I wait for the next arctic blast to test the hardiness.  A significant freeze typically comes along every three-four years here, so we're about due.  But of course, they don't come along on demand, unless you can borrow a very large freezer, so it may be a while to know for sure.

Cold Hardy Citrus / Identify this fruit?
« on: December 11, 2020, 11:26:42 AM »
I bought the plant this fruit is from about 12 years ago from One Green World Nursery.  It was labeled Citrumelo, but when I asked which variety, they didn't know.  It's clearly not a Swingle- Swingle's are shaped like hand grenades.  One person who tasted it without flinching thinks it might be a misidentified Troyer Citrange.  Myself- I don't know.  I find the presumably Trifoliate flavor to be so nasty that it tends to block out any other flavors for me, and I willingly eat fruit straight from my Flying Dragon bush without flinching.

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