Limes are valued both for the acidity of their juice and the floral aroma of their zest. Our limes are the Bearss variety (also known as Tahitian or Persian), which are famed for their size and juiciness. The Mexican lime (also known as the Key lime) is smaller than the Bearss variety and is rarely seen in New Zealand.
Bearss are in fact a hybrid of a lemon and a Key lime, hence the larger size and lower acidity (when compared to the very tart Key lime). They are the most widely cultivated and consumed lime in the world. Originally from Western Asia, they were first grown on a larger scale in Persia and southern Iraq.
With a lower acid and sugar content than lemons, they still pack in a good amount of nutrients; one lime can deliver about 32% of your daily vitamin C requirement. They also have healthy levels of vitamin B6, E, A and many more goodies - a great excuse to down a couple of lime-enhanced cocktails on the weekend - they’re good for you, right?
Limes really pack a punch in the flavour stakes too, and are a key ingredient in Mexican, Vietnamese and Thai dishes.
Did you know that the slang word “limey,” used to refer to British sailors back in the day, came about because they relied heavily on limes to prevent scurvy when out to sea for long periods?
Limes are also used extensively in drinks to add unparalleled flavour – from a wedge in the neck of your Corona to a chunky muddle in your mojito, once you’ve had the real thing, no substitute will do.
Limes are harvested when dark to pale green. A yellow lime signifies full maturity and maximum juice content.
Limes store well at room temperature out of direct sunlight for at least a week (and become juicier during this time) but will store much longer in the fridge. They can also be frozen whole, or juiced into ice-cube trays.