Here, Try This Thing: Yuzu Bathing
A traditional (and relaxing) Japanese practice to celebrate the winter solstice.By Sophie McComas-Williams
You can keep sunbathing and I haven’t yet tried forest bathing, but sink me into a contained body of warm, calming water and I'll immediately relax.
I drink beer in there. I read in there. Sometimes I prop my laptop up on the lid of the sink and watch Netflix in there. It’s like therapy, ok? I’m always looking for ways to improve my bathing experience, which is how I came across the traditional practice of yuzu bathing. Time to experiment.
Yuzu is growing steadily in popularity on Australian menus and in glasses. Yuzushu - yuzu infused sake - is a thing everyone should try (buy it here). Over at Boon Cafe Palisa Anderson’s home-grown yuzu adorns towering chiffon cakes, while at Dear Sainte Eloise the skins are used to infuse a hollandaise for fish. Sub it in anywhere for a more interesting, fragrant citrus flavour than good ol’ lemon.
Yuzu season peaks in winter, and in Japan around the time of the winter solstice (June 22 for us in Australia) yuzu are added whole to baths and onsens to enrich the water with their bright, sunny, fresh citrus scent.
I obviously had to try it, and drew an extra hot bath last Sunday to poach and soften the flesh of the fruit so the thick skin would releases its oils into the water. While I wouldn’t say it was a ground-breaking addition to my bath, it was hard to not feel extremely relaxed as the steam raised the fragrant oil into the air. Each time a yuzu bobbed past my nose, the scent was heady and perfumed, their skins oily to the touch. Bathing with yuzu is said to soothe and ward off illness, which makes me feel like the water also needs a dollop of honey and maybe some ginger. Nevertheless, it was a beautiful way to spend half an hour. Try it. Tag us! No nudes please, or at least send tasteful ones.