Earlier this year, the “limepocalypse,” as it was dubbed by one publication, hit the Western hemisphere. This lime shortage occurred due to a combination of bad weather, citrus greening disease and even the effects of drug cartels on lime production in Mexico, causing Corona consumers and margarita mixers much unhappiness.
This is not surprising since 97 percent of limes in the U.S. are imported from Mexico. The shortage also was a reminder of how much we use this green fruit, small in size but bursting with citrus goodness.
Different from most fruits we have covered in this series, the lime originated in southeast Asia before moving to the eastern Mediterranean and Africa, and continuing its journey across the Atlantic. Lime trees grow to 20 feet, sprouting thorny branches, oval leaves and aromatic white flowers. Varieties include Key lime, Persian lime and kaffir lime, all slightly different in shape and size.
One cup of lime juice contains 1 gram protein, 0.17g fat, 1g fiber and 60 kcals, and is also a source of calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorous, vitamin A and B vitamins. The 73 milligrams of antioxidant vitamin C per cup of lime juice are said to decrease the severity and length of colds and are also necessary for the growth and repair of tissues in all parts of your body. These small fruits pack a powerful vitamin C punch.
How to eat
It is not often that we see lime flesh in recipes, although in salads it can be a surprisingly nice addition, and it is commonly bitten into as a tequila shot chaser. Pickles and chutneys often call for limes, but the juice is used more regularly, both in drinks and to add flavor to a dish. Lime juice may also be added to some recipes, such as guacamole, to slow enzymic browning that occurs once some fruits are cut and exposed to the air, or it can be used in ceviche to effectively “cook” raw fish. In order to extract as much juice as possible, roll room temperature limes under your palm a few times or microwave them for around 30 seconds to release more juice.
Key lime pie
This sharp yet smooth pie supposedly originated in Key West, Florida, with one widely repeated story crediting it to “Aunt Sally,” the cook for Florida’s first millionaire, William Curry, who reportedly made the famous pie in the early 1900s. No matter what the true origin of this delectable pie, its popularity has not wavered and it adorns the menus of restaurants worldwide, each establishment’s dish varying slightly in ingredients and outcome. Chef Indika Kumara Karunaratna from Guy Harvey’s restaurant, and past winner of the Cayman Islands Culinary Society’s Chef of the Year award, provides a creamy recipe for the popular dessert, which is simple enough for at-home chefs to re-create .
Key lime pie
To serve 8
- Condensed milk – 1½ cans (98.75g)
- Key lime juice – ¼ bottle (119ml)
- 5-½ egg yolks
- Heavy cream – ¼ cup
- Graham cracker pie shell
- Mix all ingredients and place into pie shell.
- The pie will be cooked in a bain-marie/water bath. To do this, place pie shell (with foil base) into a baking pan and add water to the larger pan until it is halfway up the side of the pie shell container. Put baking pan and contents into oven.
- Bake for 20-30 minutes at 250 F. This method will provide a more gentle heat and prevent overheating or curdling.