Jabara (邪払): Citrus Fruit used in Japanese Candy
When it comes to citrus fruit unique to Japan, what comes to many people’s minds is probably Yuzu (ゆず/柚子), transmitted from China over 1000 years ago.
Compared to lemon, Yuzu has a distinctive fragrance, widely used in my country (as I wrote in this article), and brought here a natural hybrid called Jabara (ジャバラ/邪払).
Jabara, whose botanical name is Citrus Jabara, is a natural hybrid native to Japan between Yuzu and other plants, and Kitayama Village, Wakayama Pref. is known as its origin.
Although the villagers have cultivated Jabara since at least the Edo period, they registered the citrus variety in 1979 and first officially harvested it in 1985.
The Jabara tree blooms around May and bears fruit, and the harvest is typically from late November to early February.
The sourness of the citrus fruit was so intense that people believed it could ward off evil spirits, which is why it was named 邪払 (meaning warding off/driving away evil).
Because of the strong sour taste, Japanese food companies usually process Jabara and mainly use its juice in beverages, ponzu sauce, jam, marmalade, jelly sweets, or candies.
For instance, this Nodoame (のど飴: throat candy) from UHA Mikakuto contains Jabara juice from Kitayama Village, Wakayama, and I bought it at a 7-Eleven convenience store.
The Jabara fruit is a rich source of a flavonoid called narirutin, and Japanese food makers even use it as a remedy for the itchy throat, as seen in this product.
(Reference Page: Wikipedia ジャバラ )