What is Shikuwasa? (and why you should try it)

What is Shikuwasa? (and why you should try it)

Feb 15, 2023 Tags 

Shikuwasa is a fruit native to Japan, specifically Okinawa. As you may have guessed, it is a citrus that looks like lime in shape and size as it is very small. However, this fruit is unique because it is sweet and sour at the same time. It was named Shikuwasa because in the Okinawan dialect, "shi" means "sour," and "kuwasa" means "to make one eat", so it literally means "to eat sourness." 

There are many Shikuwasa-flavored drinks and snacks in Japan, and they can even be added to dishes. Many Shikuwasa limes are only produced in Okinawa and Taiwan, so even in Japan, it is not easily obtainable unless, of course, you live in Okinawa. People who live outside Japan would find it more difficult to get the fruit. This article will teach you all you need to know about the Okinawan wonder fruit that is Shikuwasa. 


What Does Shikuwasa Taste Like?


Shikuwasa Fruit


For one, it is a citrus fruit, much like oranges, lemon, lime, and tangerines, so it has a tangy taste. It's a bit tricky because Shikuwasa can be eaten both ripened and unripened. When it is unripe, it has a green rind with a sour and slightly sweet taste which is unlike lime. The rind can also be used to garnish some dishes. When the fruit is ripe, it turns to a yellowish-orange color and becomes much sweeter than the unripe version. Unripe Shikuwasa is called hirami lemon, and ripe Shikuwasa is called kugani. They are available in the summer through late winter in Japan.


How Do You Use Shikuwasa?


Shikuwasa is used in its raw or cooked form for just about anything in Japan. The juice is sometimes extracted and sold commercially as drinks (In japan, there is actually a Shikuwasa-flavored Fanta sold). People also add juice to salads, sauces, and yogurt for that extra sourness. That's not all; desserts like cakes, ice creams, and cookies can be flavored with this special lime. They last for 2-3 weeks, so they won't be quick to spoil.


5 Shikuwasa Drinks in Japan


Shikuwasa is an amazing drink that is used to make many types of drinks in Japan because of its versatility. Check out the drinks below.


Shikuwasa juice


Shikuwasa Juice


Shikuwasa juice is made by squeezing the juice from fresh Shikuwasa fruits. Some juices are extremely concentrated and usually diluted before drinking. It has a tart, citrus flavor that  can be enjoyed on its own or mixed with other juices like oranges or even tea. Many companies have their own version of Shikuwasa juice. 


Shikuwasa soda


Shikuwasa Fanta


When you add that fizziness to the sourness of Shikuwasa, it now has a carbonated lemon taste. Some carbonated beverages are made with Shikuwasa juice and sweeteners. It has a refreshing and lightly sweet flavor.

Read more: Japan's most original Fanta Flavors!


Shikuwasa tea


Shikuwasa Tea


Asians are fond of tea, so when you get a unique flavor like Shikuwasa, of course, people would use it to make tea. Shikuwasa tea is made by brewing tea and adding Shikuwasa juice or slices of Shikuwasa to the brew. It can be taken hot or refrigerated and taken as iced tea. 


Shikuwasa smoothie


Shikuwasa Smoothie


If you love smoothies, why not try making a slightly bitter one using our wonder fruit? A Shikuwasa smoothie is made by blending Shikuwasa juice with other ingredients, such as watermelon, bananas, yogurt, and ice. It has a creamy, refreshing taste. 


Shikuwasa Liquor


Shikuwasa Liqueur


Shikuwasa tastes good as an alcohol tool. Shikuwasa cocktails are made by mixing the juice with other ingredients, such as spirits, liqueurs, and mixers. These cocktails can have a wide range of flavors, depending on the ingredients used. Shikuwasa Awamori is also sold in Okinawa. This is a strong Okinawa alcohol that is distilled and aged before drinking. 


Benefits Of Shikuwasa




Apart from having a unique taste, Shikuwasa has some amazing health benefits that are still being researched. It contains high levels of Nobiletin which is usually found in citrus fruits. This compound has been proven by research to protect the brain from neurological diseases, amongst other ailments. These are some benefits of the Shikuwasa fruit. 

  • High in vitamin C: People are always advised to take their vitamins because it lowers blood pressure and increases immunity. Shikuwasa is a good source of vitamin C, an essential nutrient that helps to protect against illness.
  • May have anti-inflammatory effects: Some research suggests that compounds found in Shikuwasa may have anti-inflammatory properties, which may help to reduce inflammation in the body.
  • May have antibacterial and antioxidant properties: Shikuwasa contains compounds that may have antibacterial properties, which may help to inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria in the body. Shikuwasa also contains antioxidants, which are substances that may help to protect the body against damage caused by free radicals.
  • Causes weight loss: Some research suggests that compounds found in Shikuwasa may have anti-obesity effects, which may help to prevent weight gain and promote weight loss. Taking a lot of the juice will increase metabolism rate, helping people to burn fat and also reduce glucose levels in the body.
  • May slow down the side effects of aging: Japan has one of the highest rates of old people in the world, and a bunch of these people live in Okinawa. Surprisingly, research confirmed that compounds in citrus fruits like Shikuwasa could slow down the advancement of Alzheimer's disease and other neurological disorders without any side effects. This can enable people to live older and healthier lives.

Do you want to have a taste of this mystery fruit from Japan? Take a look at the ZenPop snack box to get unique snacks and drinks from Japan.