Limes are produced by citrus trees and they have been used in a lot of things. You can see the limes being used on plate edges as an accessory, or as a garnish on some alcoholic beverages.
But these citrus fruits are more than just a mere decoration. This round, green in color fruit with a sour taste, has multiple usage and benefits. Citrus plants have originated within the tropical Southeast Asia and South Asia regions. Migration and trading has made it possible for the citrus fruits to be discovered all around the world.
Are There Benefits in Limes?
The different types of limes may vary by appearance and acidity, but they provide mostly the same benefits. In comparison to lemons, limes have higher levels of sugar and acidity. Lime juice is the most common product that we will see on the markets. Squeezed juices from the limes are processed into bottles, either unsweetened or sweetened.
Different lime varieties are also turned into pickles, which has been used on different cuisines on countries, like Indian recipes. Lime is used on cooking for its juice acidity and the invigorating aroma of its lime zest.
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Nutrition wise, limes are rich in vitamin c which helps in strengthening the immune system and fight common diseases. Raw limes also contain a percentage of fat and protein.
What are the 8 Types of Limes
Because of migration and trade, lime has reached different countries of the world. Different lime hybrids have been created by cross-pollinating different lime tree varieties. Let us identify the different types of limes by hovering through the information provided below.
1. Kaffir Limes
Kaffir lime or makrut lime is a citrus fruit from a lime tree that is native in tropical Southeast Asian countries and southern China. The tree leaves and the kaffir lime fruit itself is being used as an ingredient in Southeast Asian cuisine recipes. Essential oils are also extracted to be used in perfumes.
Strong citrus scent is emitted by the rind of kaffir limes and leaves if they are crushed. This type of lime has a strong flavor and is not advisable to be eaten raw. Kaffir limes are often sliced thinly and are reserved or kept for future use. The kaffir lime leaves are used in soups or curry.
2. Key Limes
Genus Citrus aurantiifolia or key lime is a hybrid type of lime with a spherical fruit which turns from green to yellow when ripe and is native to Southeast Asia. Key limes are also known as Mexican lime or West Indian limes. When compared to other lime fruits like the persian limes, key limes have smaller and seedier fruits with stronger aroma, and thinner rind.
Key lime has a tarty yet aromatic flavor. Key limes are being produced by the fruit-bearing shrubby lime tree that grows up to 16 feet tall with lots of thorns. Key limes (mexican lime) shows a bright yellow skin color when ripe.
The key lime (mexican lime) fruits are also juicier, which make it perfect to be squeezed as a fresh juice with an aromatic key lime flavor. Key limes are also being used in cooking and incorporated on desserts such as the famous key lime pie.
3. Finger Limes
Living to its name, finger limes have an elongated fruit which is far from the usual lime shape which are round or spherical. One of the famous finger limes varieties is the Australian finger lime or caviar lime. It has a thorny small shrub that grows in the coastal border region of south east Queensland and New South Wales in Australia.
The fruit of the finger lime is edible and making its way to be a commercial crop. The skin of the finger lime tastes similarly to the regular limes but its flesh has a different flavor. It has a hint of grapefruit flavor with lemon-like tartiness.
4. Desert Lime
Commonly known as citrus glauca, desert lime fruits are harvested from a thorny shrub or small tree native to Queensland, New South Wales, and South Australia. The trees usually bloom in flowers by August and fruits can be harvested between November to December.
The desert lime fruit pulps are often turned into jams, tarts and jellies. The round to oblong-shaped fruit has a distinctive flavor with a refreshing taste. These types of limes could almost adapt to any types of environment. Desert lime trees are suitable for home gardens.
5. Blood Limes
Just like the key limes, blood limes are also hybrid types of limes. Cross pollination of the red finger lime and the Ellendale Mandarin hybrid produces the blood lime types. Since the ellendale mandarin is a sweet orange/mandarin hybrid, blood limes have a unique sweet-sour flavour.
The fruit of the blood lime trees produces the small yet beautiful, burgundy-coloured fruit. The trees also look like a mini version of the regular citrus shrubs with tiny leaves. You can cut the blood lime fruit in half and squeeze out the juices on its flesh.
6. Mandarin Lime
Rangpur lime or mandarin lime also came from a lemon-mandarin orange cross pollination. This type of lime hybrid closely resembles that mandarin orange as it has an orange peel and flesh. The citrus skin is also on the thicker side, providing a longer shelf life.
Since mandarin lime is a cross between lemons and tangerines, it has a quite tart and acidic taste with a distinctive flavor. It is best enjoyed as a marmalade.
7. Calamansi Limes
These small, green round limes are mostly found in the Philippines. They are often called the Philippine limes or Phillipine lemon. Aside from the Philippines, you can also spot calamansi limes at the regions of Borneo and Sulawesi in Indonesia, as well as in southern China and Taiwan.
Calamansi fruits are green when unripe but they will turn to yellow orange in color once they mature and ripens. They are best made into calamansi juice by cutting the small fruits in half and squeezing the flesh. You can add a little bit of sugar and cold water to enjoy its refreshing taste.
Calamansi is also used as a condiment in the Philippines. People would often squeeze a calamansi on soy sauce to create a salty-sour flavor that can be used as a dip for grilled chicken and pork.
8. Persian Lime
Seedless lime, Bearss lime and Tahiti lime are just some of the common names of the persian lime. This hybrid citrus fruit is a combination of key limes and lemon. The fruits of the persian lime are smaller than regular Eureka lemons, but larger when compared to the Key limes.
The outer skin of the persian lime has a thin, smooth rind. While the flesh inside is seedless with juicy, acidic flavor. Just like the key limes, persian lime can be used in cooking and even used as a substitute to key lime. Its juice can also be used as a vinegar substitute.
Among these types of limes, key limes (mexican lime) are the most popular ones. These lime citrus are being used worldwide as it has several uses and the difference in taste is recognizable. But no matter what types of limes are available in your area, they should still provide the citrus experience that you can attain on other lime types.