An exotic fruit known as Buddha's hand is gaining popularity among chefs for its fragrant characters providing a lucrative niche market for growers in Australia.
Buddha's hands are an exotic citrus believed to have originated in India before being brought to China. There currently is a growing market for the fruit in Australia, although it is still a niche market. Buddha's hands can be described as a fragrant type of citron, which is divided into finger-like sections consisting of rind and pith, with no pulp, juice or seeds.
Mike Arnold grows around 250 Buddha's hand trees at his family farm in Waikerie, South Australia, and said the fruit was quite a good addition to their operation.
Depending on the season, Buddha's hands can be worth up to $25 a kilogram. Arnold sells most of his produce to Melbourne and exports some to Singapore for Chinese New Year. "A lot of Chinese people make quite a nice sweet out of it, candied citrus," he said. "The inside is just like a pith and they turn that into a sweet. The main use in Australia is in spaghetti bolognese; just add some in the pot to get the flavour through it."