I have a favorite warm-weather treat: lime sorbet. The lime is a very famous fruit. I first became aware of just how famous as a young student trying to visualize the story my teacher relayed about a group of sailors who ate limes so their gums would not bleed. All I could picture were pirates with bad teeth and hooks for hands. I wondered if the hooks came in handy for puncturing the limes and draining the sour juice.
Limes, like lemons, oranges and grapefruit, are a citrus fruit and a bearer of Vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant. As my teacher pointed, out, this was their claim to fame. They helped prevent scurvy, the once- dreaded disease found among sailors and soldiers caused by a deficiency of this important vitamin because they didn’t have access to perishable fruits and vegetables on long voyages.
There are different varieties of limes available all over the world. Just the right amount provides the perfect accent to the flavors of foods and beverages. That’s why you’ll find it in favorite dishes from the tropics to the Mediterranean, India, Asia, Central and South America, and just about everywhere else! Limes reach their peak from May through October. Although similar to lemon, they are smaller, green (of course), and are generally sweeter, making them my personal favorite.
Many recipes call for juice and zest (the peel). The white pith, which lies underneath the green peel, is bitter, so use a good zester for best results. Lime zest adds “zest” to everything from cookies and cakes to dips and main dishes. Here’s how you can live it up with limes:
- Add a squeeze of lime juice to plain water, orange or grapefruit juice…so refreshing!
- Try fish seasoned with a squeeze of lime – you can even bake it with lime slices over the top.
- Marinate veggies such as peppers and cucumbers in lime juice and olive oil or in lime juice with a pinch of salt and a sprinkling of cayenne pepper. Here is a recipe for Jicama Salad with Cucumber and Lime.
- Use lime juice or zest in just about any recipe that calls for lemon juice or lemon zest.
- Make vinaigrette and replace the vinegar with lime juice. I love this with extra virgin olive oil, garlic and feta cheese!
- Add a squeeze of lime juice to smoothies.
- Marinate chicken or beef in lime juice and zest. Here is what we did with Chili and Lime Grilled Chicken and Cuban Style Flat Iron Steak with Lime, Orange, Garlic, Cumin and Oregano.
- Lime juice and zest are a perfect choice for bean salads. Try this Mango, Avocado and Black Bean Salad with Lime Dressing.
- Squeeze lime juice over cooked fresh corn or add it to Mexican or South American dishes. You will love our version of Layered Vegetable Enchiladas.
- Add to salsa — either prepackaged or your own made fresh. Here’s our delicious recipe.
- Lime can’t be beat when it comes to fish tacos. Here’s a great recipe for Shrimp Tacos with Fresh Pineapple Salsa and here’s another one for Thai Style Grilled Fish Tacos with Slaw.
- Lime juice is perfect in a light buttersauce or a heavier peanut sauce. This is a great recipe for Lettuce Wraps with Chili Peanut Noodles.
- Make Gazpacho with lime juice like we did with our Tropical Gazpacho.
- Squeeze lime juice over roasted or steamed beets, or squeeze it over beet greens, or any favorite greens.
- Purchase some organic lime sorbet or make your own.
- For a special treat, add lime zest to shortbread cookie dough.
- Make coconut chicken soup with organic chicken broth, chopped chicken breast, coconut milk and lime juice. Season as desired.
If you are wondering about Key limes, famous for Key Lime Pie, these little green guys have been cultivated for thousands of years. They’re native to Southeast Asia but made their way through the Middle East, North Africa, Sicily, the West Indies and into the Florida Keys – thus the name. They are smaller, more fragrant, with thinner skins and a more acidic juice than other limes, until they get really ripe at which point their acid levels decrease as their skin turns yellow.
Do you live it up with limes? Got a favorite way? Let me know!