Live It Up with Limes

Cuisines from Central and South America, India, Asia and all points in between rely on limes to add zesty sweet flavor to meals. Try some of these ideas for seasoning your dishes with lime.

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:

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!

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