Lime

By EAT-SMARTER
Updated on 03. Sep. 2020

What you should know about limes and why they're so healthy.

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Limes...

  • ...promote healthy skin. In tropical countries, limes are valued as an anti-aging remedy. Certain substances from lime juice keep the skin healthy and alleviate allergic symptoms.
  • ...strengthen the body's defenses. With about 44 milligrams of vitamin C per 100 grams, the lime covers almost 50 percent of the average daily requirement.
  • ..contain important substances. Minerals such as magnesium, calcium and phosphorus are in limes, as well as vitamins A, E and various B vitamins.
  • ...can help you lose weight. Limes are not only a good choice because they have few calories, but their acidity can also help you burn body fat fast.
  • ...prevent infections. One of the lime's components is citrate, which has been proven to fight viruses, bacteria and fungi.
  • ...protect body cells. Limes, especially in their peels, contain many flavonoids. These secondary plant substances have an antioxidant effect or intercept free radicals in the body before they can damage the body cells.
  • ..put you in a good mood. The essential oil in limes has been proven to have a positive effect on the vegetative nervous system, or the so-called sesqiterpene that can relieve restlessness and anxiety. It also can brighten your mood overall.

What You Should Know About Limes

The lime can do much more than garnish a cocktail. Their similarities to lemons are by no means coincidental: the lime is a lemon's little sister. However, the two citrus fruits differ externally and internally. The lime is smaller, sour and has fewer seeds than lemons. A lime produces about twice as much juice as a lemon. While lemons can tolerate sub-zero temperatures, their little sisters are extremely sensitive to cold — they therefore thrive exclusively in tropical climates. There, the evergreen lime trees and shrubs bear fruit all year round, so there are no harvest breaks.

Origin

The lime comes from Malaysia, however, it also grows in many other Southeast Asian and tropical countries like Sri Lanka, India, Egypt, Kenya, Mexico, the West Indies, the Dominican Republic and Brazil.

Season

In the tropics the limes are always ripening so you can get them all year round.

Taste

Limes taste slightly tart and much more sour than lemons.

Varieties

The Mexican or Key lime is particularly small, juicy and aromatic. It can be recognized by its yellowish-green skin and yellow flesh.Often available at the supermarket are Persian limes. This variety has a strong green skin, light green flesh and hardly any seeds. Tahiti limes are similar, but somewhat smaller. An exotic variety is the Kaffir lime, which comes from South East Asia, Africa and Central America. Its skin is not smooth, but wrinkled, and it turns from green to yellow as it ripens. Kaffir limes contain less juice than other varieties. 

In Asia and in Egypt there is another variety known as Citrus lemetta, which tastes surprisingly sweet but is not exported.

Here you will find all lime recipes.

How Healthy Are Limes?

The lime does not have quite as much vitamin C as its big sister, the lemon. But with about 44 milligrams per 100 grams, it still contains almost half the daily requirement. This also makes limes valuable in all cases where good defences are required!

Its content of essential oils, minerals, trace elements (especially zinc and iron) as well as folic acid, vitamin A and vitamin E is also remarkable.

Nutritional values of lime per 100 grams  
Calories 30
Protein 0.7 grams
Grease 0.2 grams
Carbohydrates 11 grams
Fibers 3 grams

Shopping and Cooking Tips

Shopping

You can hardly go wrong with limes that have shiny light green skin. Dark green limes, on the other hand, can have an unpleasantly sour taste, yellow ones are overripe and often taste bitter. Kaffir limes and Kaffir lime leaves are available in well-assorted Asian shops or online.

Storage

The lime's skin is thin, so the flesh dries out relatively quickly. If the lime is left at room temperature for longer than about five days, it becomes hard and offers less juice. In a cool, slightly humid room, limes keep much longer at about 50 F and can be stored for up to four weeks.

Preparation

Even if you only want the pulp or juice, lime with treated peel should always be washed thoroughly under warm water before peeling or squeezing. The peel is only harmless with organic limes, but they should also be washed.

Often the natural protective layer of lime is washed off after harvesting and replaced with natural or artificial wax, which makes the fruit even more durable. Lime marked "untreated" or "peel suitable for consumption" are free from preservatives and pesticide residues, but may be waxed. That is why you should always wash limes with hot water.

What To Make With Limes

Freshly squeezed lime juice is indispensable for many classic cocktails: Caipirinha, mojito or margarita. But non-alcoholic drinks also get more pep with lime juice.

In the kitchen, juice and/or grated lime peel are the finishing touch to exotic dishes. In principle, you can use lime almost anywhere where lemon is usually used. However, its aroma is best suited for use in Mexican, Latin American, Indian and Asian dishes.

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