Limes

While lemons and limes have a lot of things in common, they are still distinctly different from each other. Externally, limes are generally smaller than lemons, and their color tends to be on the bright green side, as opposed to lemons that are bright yellow. Nutritionally, they’re on par with the lemon in terms of vitamins and minerals provided per serving. In taste, lemons tend to be sweeter than limes. All in all, they are both citrus fruits that are vitally important in the flavoring of many food and non-food items.

  • Kingdom: Plantae
  • Order: Sapindales
  • Family: Rutaceae
  • Genus: Citrus
  • Species: Varies
  • Binomial name: Varies

Lime Trivia

  • If lemons have lemonade, limes have limeade.
  • In the 19th century, British sailors were required to consume one lime a day to prevent scurvy, this is why British sailors are known as “limeys” today.
  • Contrary to popular belief, limes aren’t just unripe lemons.

Lime Buying Guide

To check limes for ripeness, give the skin a little scratch with your fingernail. Fully ripe limes will smell like, well, limes. Underripe limes will not have a very strong smell. You’ll want to pick limes that are green throughout to get that full lime flavor. Limes with a yellow-green color are usually less tasty and fragrant than green limes.

The next step is to give the limes a little squeeze. Perfectly ripe limes should have a little bit of give to them and not be too hard to too soft.

Finally, pick limes that feel heavy for their size. Those that are heavy for their size contain more juice than those that are light for their size.

Tip: Since limes are relatively smaller than lemons, you don’t need each one to be perfect. Just make sure that the majority of limes are ripe and you should be good.  

Lime Production & Farming in Texas

Like their cousins the lemons, lime trees are extremely sensitive to cold and cannot survive in most parts of Texas without special effort put into protecting them from freezes. Even in the Lower Rio Grande Valley where lemons can thrive, limes would still need some extra protection during major freeze events. Small specialty growers in and around the Southern part of Texas and in the Lower Rio Grande Valley have successfully grown limes, but not on any significant scale. They’re usually available in Farmers’ Markets when they’re in season.

Pesticides:

In one study, citrus fruits (lime included), 95% of all the samples tested positive for up to 38 different chemicals and pesticides. This includes pesticides that were used in growing, as well as post-harvest chemical treatments applied to keep the fruit fresh during transport. This is an alarming rate, and as the rind of lime is used in many preparations, it is advisable to purchase organic limes over commercially produced ones.

Geography:

When planting lime trees, make sure that you’re planting it in sandy, loamy soil that has a pH level of 5.0 or higher. Also, take note that lime is very sensitive to frost and cold and it may not survive in many areas outside of the Lower Rio Grande Valley.

Packaging:

Since limes, just like most citrus fruits, are very hardy fruits, hardly any special packaging is required. They’re usually bulk packed inside cartons for display purposes. Some retailers pack their limes by weight in plastic webbing bags.

Eating Limes

Limes aren’t consumed as we would consume other fruits due to their very high acidity levels and tartness.

Storage:

Limes, just like lemons can be stored at room temperature for about a week before they start to become dry and useless. For longer storage, keep them in an air-tight bag and you can store them inside the fridge for up to 6 weeks. Just like lemons, keep the limes from getting squished by other things as this may cause the fruit to rot prematurely. Check on your limes once every few days to ensure that there isn’t any mold growth. If you find any, remove the moldy limes to protect the others from spoiling as well.

Cooking:

Lime shines most in cooking applications. The juice of the lime can be added to many baked goodies including bread, pies, tarts, and cookies. Fresh limes can also be squeezed over almost any Tex-Mex dish to add a splash of freshness and flavor. Lime juice also is added to daiquiris and teas to brighten up the flavors. Lime juice is excellent as a marinade for roast chicken, grilled meats and seafood. The zest of the lime can be used as a garnish for cream-based pastries as well as a flavor enhancer for almost any dish that calls for a hint of tartness.

Nutrition:

  • Carbs
    • Limes are not a significant source of carbs for any diet.
    • There also has been no scientific study done on the glycemic index of limes as this is a non-sugary fruit and the impact of consumption of lime on blood sugar levels is insignificant.
  • Fiber
    • Lime is not a significant source for dietary fibers.
  • Vitamins and minerals:
    • Like its cousin the lemon, limes are a very good source of Vitamin C. A serving of limes provides around 33% of our daily required vitamin C intake.
      • Vitamin C helps fight oxidative stress caused by free radicals.
      • The citric acid in limes helps reduce the risk of developing kidney stones by slowing down or outright stopping the formation of stones.
      • Vitamin C also helps our body absorb iron. This can help people get sufficient iron in their diet, especially vegans and vegetarians.

Nutrition

DV%

  • Serving Size: 1 Serving
  • Calories: 20.1 1%
  • Carbs: 7.1g 2%
  • Sugar: 1.1g 0
  • Fiber: 1.9g 8%
  • Protein: 0.5g 1%
  • Fat: 0.1g 0%
  • Saturated Fat: 0g 0%
  • Trans Fat 0g 0%
  • Cholesterol 0mg 0%
  • Sodium 1.3mg 0%
  • Vitamin C 19.5mg 32%
  • Vitamin A 33.5IU 1%
  • Calcium 22.1mg 2%
  • Iron 0.4mg 2%
  • Potassium 68.3mg 2%
  • Vitamin E 0.1mg 1%
  • Vitamin K 0.4mcg 1%
  • Vitamin B6 0mg 1%
  • Folate 5.4mcg 1%
  • Magnesium 4mg 1%
  • Phosphorus 12.1mg 1%
  • Copper 0mg 2%
  • Zinc 0.1mg 0%

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