Limes must be one of the world’s most hip citrus fruits.
Demand for varieties like Tahitian and Kaffir has built up enormously over the last decade or so, probably because Asian cooking is so popular.
There are several common varieties grown:
- Tahitian Lime is a very juicy fruit and grows all year round. When ripe they are a seedless green fruit – however they can be left on the tree to turn yellow, which makes them softer, juicier and a little sweeter.
- Wild Finger Lime is a long, narrow fruit with a red brown coloured skin native to Australia. The juice is contained in little spherical cells (quite amazing to see), and has a tart flavour that works well in Asian dishes.
- Kaffir Lime is essential in Thai cooking. The leaves of the Kaffir lime tree are used in Thai curries. The zest of the nobly looking fruit is also used in certain recipes. However, the flesh of Kaffir lime is full of seeds, little juice and is generally discarded.
I have kaffir lime growing in my back yard and it’s one of my favourite trees – it’s often so full of fruit i don’t get to use them all.
Limes are an excellent source of Vitamin C.
A (Not So) Fun Fact
In 1795 the British navy began to distribute rations of rum, laced with lime and lemon juice during long sea voyages. That’s where the nickname ‘Limeys’ (meaning British sailors) originated.
The Vitamin C in the citrus juice was largely successful in preventing scurvy.
It is a little known fact that well-known English Explorer Captain James Cook wrote an ill-informed report to the Admiralty based on experiences from his first and second voyages, that came to delay the introduction of lemon and lime juice rations for twenty years – costing countless lives.
Tom Yum Kung (Sour Shrimp Soup)
- 350g raw green prawns, peeled and deveined
- 2 Lt chicken stock
- 3 lemongrass stalks, bruised and finely chopped
- 3 galangal slices
- 3 chilies
- 5 kaffir lime leaves, torn
- 2 tablespoon fish sauce
- 70g straw mushrooms
- 2 spring onions, finely sliced
- 3 tablespoons ime juice (fresh)
- 3 tablespoons coriander leaves, torn
- In a saucepan bring the stock, one stalk of lemongrass and the galangal to the boil.
- Reduce the heat and gently simmer for 20 minutes.
- Strain the stock and discard the flavourings.
- To the stock, add the remaining 2 stalks of lemongrass, chilies, kaffir lime leaves, fish sauce, straw mushrooms and spring onions. Simmer for another couple of minutes.
- Add the prawns and cook for another couple of minutes until the prawns are firm and pink. Remove from the heat and add the lime juice and coriander leaves, then serve.
It’s also nice to add spoonfuls of steamed jasmine rice to your bowl of soup as you eat it.