Thomas J. Story
Flavor and aroma Fruity and bracingly sour, like a mix of tangerines and limesBack story Actually a hybrid acid mandarin, originally from Rangpur, in what is now Bangladesh. Cal Stamenov likes Rangpurs in drinks, desserts, and to “squeeze over anything.”Harvest season Everbearing and prolific, but heaviest in winter
Flavor and aroma Like an exotic version of Meyer lemon, with a hint of pineBack story This hybrid between primitive Chinese Citrus ichangensis and sour mandarin (or possibly satsuma) grows wild in Tibet and central China, and is prized in Japanese and Korean cuisine. Stamenov uses yuzus to kick up the flavor of seafood and desserts.Harvest season Autumn to early winter
Rangpur Lime Shooters
Think of these shooters as really good margaritas you can pick up with your fingers (or a spoon). Serve them at your next party and watch your guests’ eyes light up.
Crab, Shrimp, and Mango Salad with Yuzu Vinaigrette
Yuzu’s ultra-aromatic, floral flavor makes it a knockout with seafood and mango. A soy-ginger mayo and a sprinkle of minced kaffir lime leaves add more layers of complexity. At Marinus restaurant, Stamenov serves a deluxe all-crab first-course version of the recipe.
Rangpur Lime Soufflés
Ethereal, citrus-flavored clouds.
As a kid growing up in Northern California, Cal Stamenov’s favorite food was Meyer lemons from the tree in the family garden, cut in half and dipped in powdered sugar. Fast-forward: Stamenov, the acclaimed chef of Marinus restaurant at Bernardus Lodge, in Carmel Valley, California, is still nuts about citrus. A seasonally changing parade of varieties show up on his menus, and at home, he grows about two dozen kinds.
Which ones are his favorites? “Yuzus are exotic and bright and unique. Rangpur limes are a beautiful orange, and they hang on the tree year-round. They’ve got a good tang and are more interesting than standard citrus ― like Kobe beef versus regular beef.”
Although some specialty markets have yuzus and Rangpur limes, the best source is your own tree, and now is prime planting season. Stamenov created the following recipes to show off these fruits’ flavors, but they work with other citrus too.
Next: Plant your own citrus trees
Plant your own citrus trees
Climate Like all citrus, Rangpur limes and yuzus thrive with warm to hot summers and mild winters (Sunset climate zones 8–9, 12–24 from the Sunset Western Garden Book; more info on sunset.com/climatezones). Yuzus are cold-hardy down into the teens, and Rangpurs can take cold into the mid-20s. Or try them indoors by a sunny window.
TLC Give citrus excellent drainage and regular applications of citrus food during the growing season. They’ll get cranky if you let the soil dry out or get soggy.
When Plant in full sun after danger of frost is past and before summer heat hits, in the ground or in large containers like half-barrels.
Sources If your local nursery doesn’t sell yuzus and Rangpur limes, buy them on-site or by mail from Menlo Growers (11605 New Ave., Gilroy, CA; 408/683-4862); call for current availability, sizes, and prices. Four Winds Growers (877/449-4637) sells dwarf trees by mail; two- to three-year-old trees cost $40, plus shipping (not available to Arizona).