In this brief guide, we will answer the query,” can you eat etrog?”. We will also talk about its health benefits and its cultural relevance.
Can you eat etrog?
Yes, the etrog is safe and very much edible. After the four days of the festival of Sukkot, one does not want to throw away the expensive etrog.
Though the etrog is not very juicy, the skin and the pith are used in cooking or can be consumed raw. The pith is a little sweet with a lemony aroma.
The skin and pith are used in baking and can also be candied and made into marmalade. Etrog has a delightful lemon smell and taste though it comes from the skin as there is a little flesh inside.
The etrog is a Hebrew name that is more popularly known as citron in western countries.
Are etrog and lemon the same?
Etrog and lemon belong to the citrus family but are not the same fruit. The etrog or citron is less juicy and has a larger appearance. It has thick skin and looks like a bulged lemon.
What are the health benefits of etrog?
The etrog or citron is full of nutrients like vitamin C, potassium, and other essential minerals which keep the blood pressure in check, improve blood circulation and reduce strain on the arteries.
Drinking etrog juice helps in improving heart diseases and helps maintain a healthy heart.
How to store Etrog?
Etrog or citron is perishable like any other fruit. It is important to store the etrog in a cool place and be treated gently.
What is the cultural relevance of etrog?
The etrog, also known as citron, is an integral part of the Jewish festival of Sukkot. The etrog is one of the original citrus fruits from which other citrus fruits were developed, namely lemon.
The etrog is part of the four original species along with Myrtle, willow, and palm, all of which are vital in the festival of Sukkot. Two boughs of myrtle, three boughs of a willow, and a branch of palm form a bouquet called lulav.
The Lulav along with Etrog is to be shaken in the mornings of the festival in all six directions to symbolise that God is all around us.
In the Jewish culture, each of the species represents an aspect of the human body, likely the etrog represents the heart, the willow represents the lips, the Myrtle represents the eyes and the palm branch represents the spine.
Eating of the etrog is not allowed during the period of the festivals as it is against the religion. One can only use the etrog to cook or eat it raw after the last day of the festival.
The etrog or citron used for the Jewish traditions’ Sukkot festival must meet many standards including, the trees not being grafted, the fruits being unblemished, the flower remnants intact on the end of the fruit and the tree should not be hybrid.
The perfect etrog that justifies all the standards to be used for the holy ceremony is then wrapped in a special silk cloth and placed in an ornamental decorated box most preferably made of silver. This tradition has been followed for years.
Where does the etrog grow?
It is not clear about the origin of the etrog but it is cultivated in the Mediterranean. Nowadays, it is cultivated in countries like Israel, Greece, Sicily, Morocco, and a few central and south American countries.
The etrog grown and cultivated in Israel is not considered food and is not recommended for consumption due to the high use of pesticides in their agriculture.
How to eat etrog?
The etrog is not as juicy as its citrus counterpart the lemon. It is thick-skinned and has not much flesh to it. The skin and pith are the major parts used in preparing food. Though there is little juice, it has health benefits.
The white pith is edible and mildly sweet and is used to make candied citron. Apart from candied citron, the fruit can be used to make cakes, candies, cookies, jams, and marmalade.
The juice from the etrog can be made into a syrup which can be used as a condiment to add to drinks, tea, and cocktails.
The white pith can be sliced into thin strips and added to any salads to enhance the lemon flavour. Adding the citron adds character to the dishes and drinks.
In this brief guide, we answered the query, “can you eat etrog?”. We also talked about the health benefits of the etrog and its cultural relevance.
I hope you find this blog useful. If you have any questions, please let us know.