The gemara in Sukkah 35a describes one of the characteristics of the etrog as

a tree that the taste of its tree trunk and the taste of its fruit are alike

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The Kapos Temarim (cited by Shut Chasam Sofer, Orach Chaim 207) explains that an esrog is unique in that it has little or no pulp, unlike other edible citrus fruits. The main part of the esrog is therefore its “rind”, which bears a much closer flavor to its bark than does the pulp of any other fruit.

I am aware of at least four common types of etrogim grown today: Moroccan, Hazon Ish, Calabrian and Teimani.

Which of these types of etrogim corresponds to the gemara and Kapos Temarim description?

1 Answer 1


I had an opportunity for the first time today to see the inside of four common etrogim. I found it fascinating ... and surprising.

Here's a Moroccan etrog

Moroccan etrog outside Moroccan etrog inside

Here's a Hazon Ish etrog (for more details, see here under Contemporary Esrogim)

Hazon Ish outside Hazon Ish inside

Here's a Calabria etrog (some of the pulp on the right side was removed for tasting)

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Finally, here's a Teimani etrog

enter image description here enter image description here

The first three etrogim smelled and tasted like ... lemons. The last (Teimani) tasted like ... tree bark. It was clearly the closest to the gemara description.

The Teimani etrog is also closest to the Kapos Temarim description "little or no pulp ... the main part of the esrog is therefore its rind".

PS1: No live etrog was harmed in this experiment - they were all psulim for some reason before being cut up

PS2: This answer's only aim is to be educational -- it is not meant to challenge anyone's tradition

PS3: For a long but very interesting history of the different sort of etrogim through the ages, see this Jerusalem Post article.

  • 1
    I think the reverse is true. Citrus trees have that aroma and taste of citrus. And that is the praise of an esrog, how much the flavor is found in the tree as well. Why would a fruit be praised for tasting like bark?
    – mroll
    Sep 20, 2018 at 21:12
  • 2
    Did you try any of the barks to see if they tasted flavorful in any way? Or were you just comparing to other tree's bark?
    – Double AA
    Sep 21, 2018 at 3:17
  • 1
    Wait... do you know what tree bark tastes like? Was that part of this experiment? If not, why did you taste it?
    – Heshy
    Sep 21, 2018 at 12:52
  • 2
    @Heshy a few times in my life, do I really have to share here all the stupid things I did out of curiosity? :->
    – mbloch
    Sep 21, 2018 at 13:47
  • 2
    This is fascinating, even if not particularly scientific :)
    – DonielF
    Sep 23, 2018 at 15:17

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