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The properties of lime

The lime is a citrus fruit that has just lately gained popularity in the Western world. In actuality, it needs a definite tropical climate in order to grow. Thus, it cannot be produced in Italy or the rest of Europe if greenhouse cultivation is disregarded. There are several stereotypes associated with limes, such as the idea that they are just a smaller, unripe version of the traditional lemon. Well, we are talking about two radically different species.

In any case, this citrus fruit appears to be quite small and has a hue that leans distinctly green when it is maturing. If left on the tree, it can also take on yellowish shades, but in that case, the quantity of juice is significantly lower. Lime, like all other citrus fruits, is an invaluable source of vitamin C, although mineral salts such as potassium and magnesium are also present.

The different varieties

The lime is perceived as an overall consistent fruit, always the same. In reality, there are many varieties; here are the most cultivated ones:

  • Sweet: It is the only variety that has any hope of growing in the Mediterranean area. It is characterised by a marked sweetness and a skin that tends towards yellow rather than green.
  • Palestine. Similar to the sweet variant, it is characterised by a pleasant and almost not at all acrid pulp. The fruit is slightly sweeter than average.
  • Mexican: This is a very classic type of citrus fruit; in fact, it is characterised by a slightly sour flavour. It is the classic cocktail lime.

Some ideas on how to use lime, from cocktails to its uses in the kitchen

Lime is known, at least in Europe, as a cocktail ingredient. It is often placed as a garnish on drinking glasses. Obviously, the cocktail must lend itself to the particular characteristics of the citrus fruit so as not to create strange or unpleasant combinations.

The mojito is undoubtedly the most well-known lime-based cocktail. It represents beachside aperitifs and summer evenings. It recalls the most party atmospheres, stimulates the imagination, and, above all, is delicious. It’s a cocktail that conveys exotic and fruity aromas. It is prepared with fresh mint, lime, sugar, white rum, soda, and ice. The procedure consists of crushing the solid ingredients together, then adding the rum and pouring everything into a glass with ice. Lastly, pour in the soda and garnish with extra lime and mint.

Another very famous cocktail with this citrus fruit is the caipirinha, which is made with cachaca, a distillate obtained from the plant of the same name that grows in Brazil. The ingredient list also includes sugar and lime. The procedure is similar to that of Mojito; in fact, a mortar is used to crush the ingredients as best as possible until a very dense liquid is obtained.

The Margarita, on the other hand, is a cocktail made with tequila, triple sec, and lime juice. It is prepared by mixing and shaking the ingredients together (along with ice). This cocktail stands out for its composition: the liquid obtained from the “shaking” is poured into a frozen glass with the rim moistened and coated with salt. Finally, it is decorated with a slice of lime.

Lime can also be used as an actual ingredient, not just as a side dish,to create intriguing juices or flavoured water. In certain instances, it can even take centre stage in savoury dishes, particularly those that strive for a balance of sweet and sour flavours. The reference is to the interesting basmati rice with coriander and lime, a first course out of the ordinary in terms of visual impact and, above all, in terms of taste.

The most creative recipes

Since limes are such a versatile citrus fruit—many of which I’ve already shared on this site—it is worth compiling a list of some delectable recipes. To access the entire process, I suggest searching the website for the detailed recipes.

Tortillas with lime shrimp ceviche: In this recipe, the lime is used to flavour the prawns. Then the prawns are placed on tortillas together with a filling of tomatoes, avocado, chives, and oil.

Swordfish rolls with lime and avocado: The citrus fruit is used here to flavour the avocado, which is reduced to cream and mixed with cherry tomatoes, oil, and mustard. In general, this citrus fruit helps to create a slightly acidic but tasty filling capable of enhancing the slices of swordfish.

Fonio and lime ricotta basket: A filling made of lime zest, ricotta, pan-cooked fonio, and sugar serves as the filling for delicate puff pastry baskets. Everyone enjoys a sophisticated, imaginative dessert with a complex flavour.

Properties and health benefits

I have already mentioned the presence of vitamin C, potassium, and magnesium in this precious citrus fruit. However, given an excellent nutritional profile, it is important to delve deeper into the health benefits.

Strengthens the immune system: The excess of vitamin C is credited with aiding in the absorption of iron, which is necessary for blood oxygenation.

Aids in digestion: Citric acid, which promotes the synthesis of digestive enzymes, is what influences it in this instance. As a result, the fight against constipation is fairly effective.

It maintains a high level of energy in the body: Because limes are high in potassium, calcium, and magnesium, they are remineralizing fruits. Furthermore, it revitalises and replenishes even after prolonged and strenuous work.

It aids in cancer prevention: Lime contains many antioxidants, including vitamin C. Antioxidants optimise the cell regeneration process, therefore helping to prevent carcinogenic mutations.

Protects the heart: The reference is to polyphenols and terpenes, substances that affect the cardiovascular system as well as having an antioxidant function.