Information about Limes plus lime recipe
are a smallish fruit
which belong to the plant family Rutaceae (citrus family). They
are similar to lemons but generally smaller and have a fresher taste and a more
aromatic smell. The whole of the plant is used for culinary purposes i.e. the
juice, skin (pericarp), pulp in some cases the leaves and the fruits are usually picked and used when
unripe (green). When fully ripe the fruit are yellow.
and History of Limes
Lime is a native of the East Indies and has spread all over the world in
tropical and near tropical regions. Here we are going to concentrate on the
three best known varieties used in cooking.
traders introduced it to North Africa and the Near East towards the end of the
10th Century AD and it was in turn
introduced the Mediterranean by the Crusaders during the 12th and 13th
Centuries AD. Good old Columbus is
credited with having introduced it to the New World and Spanish immigrants
took it on to Florida where the success in its cultivation in the Florida Keys
led to it being referred to as the Key Lime.
Key limes are much smaller than Persian limes.
also known as Tahiti Lime (Citrus latifolia) is from uncertain
origins. It is thought to be a hybrid of the Mexican Lime (see above) and
Citron (Citrus medica) developed in the early 20th century.
They are larger than the Mexican lime, usually seedless and less less
(Citrus hystrix.) is native to South East Asia. Popular
in Thai, Indonesian and Malaysian cuisines (amongst others), it is the leaves
which are mostly used. As this plant grows wild in many places, one can only
assume that it has been used for culinary purposes for thousands of years.
couple of interesting historical facts relating to names derived from this
The English became known as "limeys" because our sailors used to
consume limes during long sea voyages to combat the disease Scurvy which was
basically a deficiency of Vitamin C, which up until the late 18th Century
killed many a seaman. Also "Limehouse", in London's docks, gets its
name from the warehouses where the fruit used to be stored upon arrival from the West
Although today the name "Kaffir" is widely associated with a
derogatory name given to black people , the word actually derives from an Arabic
word which means "unbeliever". Why they should have given this
fruit that particular name.....
plants range from shrubs which reach a height of up to 6 feet to trees which
grow up to 6 m. They need a tropical or near tropical climate to thrive
well in the open although compact dwarf varieties are not available which are
suitable for growing in large pots which can be grown in a sunny spot on the
patio in summer although they must be moved to a frost-free place in winter.
As mentioned above, the fruit are usually harvested when unripe although
they can be left on the tree to ripen when they turn yellow. Depending on the
variety, main crop harvesting usually takes place from early summer through to
the Autumn although many varieties produce fruit of much of the year once