The two best known and most aromatic of the citrus family are lemon and lime.
Lemons and limes have long played an important part in the diet of people in the temperate climates and were already prized for their medicinal virtues in the palace of the Sultan of Egypt and Syria around 1200 A.D. Like most citrus fruit, they are an excellent source of Vitamins C and B6. The pectin in lemons provides a very important type of dietary fibre.
Lemons and limes do not contain fat, sodium, nor cholesterol. But they contain significant amounts of potassium, calcium, folate, thiamin, niacin, vitamin B6, phosphorus, magnesium and copper.
The detoxifying effect of lemons and limes is well known and they have been used successfully against colds and influenza. They are particularly effective against sore throats.
Lemon and limes have also shown some beneficial effect on rheumatism and gout. They may help to reduce the risk of heart diseases and some types of cancer. Lemons are one of the best foods to protect against kidney stone formation. The nutritional value of limes is almost identical to that of lemons.
These tart green fruits are similar to lemons, but they're more acidic and have their own unique flavor. Varieties include the common Persian lime = Tahiti lime and the smaller, less juicy, and more acidic Florida key lime = key lime = Mexican lime. When buying limes, select specimens that are dark green, smaller, thin-skinned, and heavy for their size.
1 lime yields about 2 tablespoons lime juice Substitutes: lemon (Lemons have a weaker flavor and are less acidic, so use a bit more to compensate.) OR kalamansi
The Key lime originated in southern Asia Indo-Malayan region. It was unknown in Europe before the Crusades and it is assumed to have been carried to North Africa and the Near East by Arabs, across North Africa into Spain and Portugal. It was brought by European Crusaders from Palestine to the Mediterranean countries. In the mid-13th century, the lime was cultivated and well-known in Italy and probably also in France. It was taken to the Americas by Spanish and Portuguese explorers in the early part of the 16th century where it became naturalized in southern Florida, parts of the West Indies, Mexico and other Caribbean countries. Hence, the name Key lime is from the Florida Keys. When pineapple cultivation was abandoned in the Florida Keys because of soil depletion and the 1906 hurricane, farmers began to plant the limes as a substitute crop there.
The Key lime was our first lime, and in fact, was the first lime enjoyed by Europeans. The reason that the Tahitian/Persian lime became our regular lime, and the Key lime receded as a specialty fruit item, is threefold:
-Tahitian limes are easier to cultivate. Key limes are more sensitive and their branches are very thorny and the limes are harder to pick.
-Tahitian limes have thicker skins and are easier to transport and store.
-Tahitian limes are less tart.
It is believed that the Persian/Tahitian lime was introduced into the Mediterranean region by way of Persia (the modern Iran). Portuguese traders probably carried it to Brazil, and apparently arrived in Australia from Brazil in about 1824. It reached California by way of Tahiti between 1850 and 1880 and had arrived in Florida by 1883. In Florida, the Tahitian quickly took the place of the more sensitive Key lime.
Following World War I, the Tahitian lime became a well-established commercial crop. Though it’s hard to believe today since the fruit is so universal, there was market resistance at first, buyers viewing it as a “green lemon.”
Did you know:
A squeeze of lime has virtually no calories, and brings a delicious accent to foods and vegetables.
Key lime pie, made from the juice of the Key lime, is one of America’s favorite pies.
You can easily substitute limes for lemons in any dish.
Several of the more unusual varieties can be purchased as houseplants, and will yield fruit for starters.
Serving size: 100 grams
How to Select and Store :