Lime

Lime

Plural:
Limes
Family:
Rutaceae – Citrus Family
Species:
Citrus aurantiifolia

Origin

Limes originate from Southeast Asia, particularly Malaysia, and among all of the citrus fruits, they are the most sensitive to cold and need a humid climate. Their cores probably were brought as seeds to Mexico and the West Indies by Spanish sailors. The flesh of the lime is rich in potassium, calcium and phosphorus, as well as vitamin C. Due to them containing vitamin C, in former times it was taken along on journeys by sailors for scurvy.

Plant

Limes grow on strong, widely ramified evergreen trees, which often are tainted with sharp thorns, and have rich leaves. The roundish fruits have a green-yellow smooth, thin peel. The usually seedless greenish flesh of the lime is nearly twice as juicy as in lemons, highly aromatic and very sour. Besides the main bloom that occurs twice a year, the plants continue to flower, but less intensively. Therefore they can be harvested all year round.

Cultivation

Limes are cultivated in Asia, Brazil, Mexico, California, South Florida, the Caribbean, the tropical parts of South America, in Israel, Egypt and other African countries.

Importations

All year round from Brazil and Israel.

Fruit

The Lime is considered to be the “lemon of the tropics” and is frequently mistaken for the genuine lemon. Limes look similar, but have a thinner peel which is coloured green in tree-mature condition and yellow in ripeness. A lime can contain twice as much juice as a lemon.

Edible:
The flesh and peel.
Inedible:
The seeds.
Odour:
It is refreshing like a lemon.
Flavour:
It tastes similar to lemons, but somewhat more sourish and aromatic.
Size:
Depending upon variety, from the size of a pigeon egg to a golf ball.
Shape:
They are roundish but without the upraising wart at the end.
Bowl:
They can be green to green-yellow, thin, smooth and pleasantly bittersweet.
Flesh:
They are lightgreen to yellowish green; about twice as juicy as a lemon, sourish and acidic.
Ripeness:
The fruits are evenly coloured with lightgreen and a yellow glow.
Overripe fruits:
They become intensively yellow, wrinkled or dull with bitter flesh.
Unripe fruits:
The peel is dark-green like an avocado, and dull with green to green-white flesh that tastes very sour.

Usage

The juice and peel are used in sweet dishes as well as for baking. They may be sliced as decoration and condiment for crumbed and deep-fried foods, boiled down with oranges for jam, and also squeezed for beverages, sauces and soups.

Storage

The shelf-life of the lime is clearly below the lemon because the peel shrinks rapidly and the fruit loses much water. Ripe fruits can be kept for about 5 days at room temperature or 10 days in the refrigerator. Like all other citrus fruits limes will not continue to ripen after the harvest. The juice can be frozen; the peel can be scraped and mixed with sugar and kept in a glass with a secure plastic or metal lid.

Tip

Limes should not be cut crosswise like lemons, but lengthwise, then the rate of yield in juice is much larger. Direct exposure to the sun should be avoided as it turns the peel yellow and reduces the characteristic acid content.