With an ever-changing craving for flavor in the marketplace today, the lime has become a larger part in food preparation due to a south-of-the-border influence. Foods are becoming tangier, and have more contrast in the finish of each bite.
Limes favor tropical climates. It is thought that limes originally came from Southeast Asia, where Arab traders obtained them and returned them to Egypt and Africa in the 900’s. Moors introduced limes to Spain in the 1200’s, and then the fruit was disseminated throughout Europe during the Crusades. Columbus brought limes to the Caribbean on his second voyage to the New World. They were subsequently cultivated in the Florida region by Spanish explorers. Today, the leading lime producers include the United States, India, Italy, Mexico, and Spain.
Limes are available year round, although they are in their peak season from May through October. The two varieties of limes used most prevalently are the larger Persian (known also as Tahitian or Bearss) and the smaller Key (known also as Mexican or bartender’s).
When selecting a lime, look for one that is brightly colored, glossy; “yellow” is good. It should be heavy for its size, and firm but springy to the touch.
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