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It’s hard to think of Mexico and not think of limes. In Mexico, limes are everywhere and served with everything from peanuts, to fruit, to tacos, to a steak dinner. So, it’s hard to believe that limes did not originate in Mexico and were brought over by the Europeans from the Indo-Malaysian region. Yet, the fruit was eagerly embraced and incorporated into Mexican cuisine, so much so, that it has become a necessity in the Mexican kitchen.

In my mind, no other citrus packs the punch that a Mexican lime does. Called limón in Spanish, it is also known as true lime, West Indian Lime, or sometimes key lime.

While on the smaller side regarding size and thin skin, this round and light green colored lime is extremely plump and juicy. As it ripens, it becomes softer, even more plump and its skin color turns lighter and yellow-y. Much more acidic than other limes and of course more than a lemon. It has a fresh, clean and lovely citrusy aroma.

There are other varieties of limes. The large fruited Bearss or Persian lime is what is more commonly seen in the grocery stores in the US. It is thicker skinned, shaped more like a lemon, a hybrid of a true lime and citron (the father of the lemon) and tends to be less juicy. But given increasing demand, true limes are appearing more and more.


6comments inLimes

  1. Clare Gray-Bayne

    Jun 14

    also, have you ever tried calamondins? I have heard them called calamondin limes before, and they really are sour, but they make excellent pies and preserves. They are not commercially available, but they grow here in Florida. Our family grew citrus here for about 85 years, until the freezes in 1983 and 1985, wiped out the groves and they moved further south. Calamondins are tiny and round, about the size of a kumquat. You could probably grow them in a pot, in a sunny, south-facing window….

    1. Pati Jinich

      Jun 21

      Thanks Clare for this information, I would love to be able to try some desserts with Calamondins!

  2. Clare Gray-Bayne

    Jun 14

    Hi Pati,
    I love limes, but I wasn’t sure if they would work in an apple tart. I was out of lemons, so I grated the lime zest over the sliced apples, squeezed the juice over, added maple syrup, organic sugar, some flour, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, ginger and cardamom. Mixed it all up in the bowl. It was SO SO good, i nearly licked the bowl they were mixed in. I have used limes over lots of things (esp. seafood and in vinaigrettes) but not interchangeably with lemon juice in baking. I will continue to use them in this apple tart. Yum!!!

    1. Pati Jinich

      Jun 21

      Wonderful Clare! Limes are super popular in Mexico and we use them in baking a lot as well 😉

  3. Jeanette

    Apr 19

    Dear Pati I got some lemons and I was really surprised that they were sweet very very good. I’m so glad I found them. Do you have any resceips.

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