Varietal Focus: Lime

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Limes are thought to originate from the South East Asian region. There are several varieties, two of commercial interest are Persian/Tahitian (citrus aurantifolia) and key lime (citrus latifolia). Lime is complex in terms of all the mutations and hybridisations that have occurred, however, this has brought us our variety in citrus fruits. Key lime is a hybrid of citron and papeda (a wild “parent” citrus). Persian/Tahitian lime is a hybrid of key lime and lemon. They grow in tropical and subtropical climates such as Mexico, Peru and Brazil. The ingredient is a good source of potassium, vitamins A, B, C and D, calcium and magnesium. The high level of vitamin C and antioxidants found in the fruit help support the immune system. Limes are also beneficial for digestion due to their high acid content which help saliva break down food. They are also low in calories which is often why they are formulated into health drinks.

Household Products
Lime oil is used in household cleansers, detergents and soaps. It is high in pinenes and limonene, which makes it a good cleaner. In cosmetics, lime oil is used as a fixing agent and it is also used in aromatherapy. Research has shown that lime oil can enliven appetite due to its stimulating scent.

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Food and Drink
In food, the ingredient is found in Asian, Mexican, Indian and Latin American cuisine. It is also popular in pickles, sauces, salsas and dressings. In comparison to lemon, limes contain a higher level of sugar and acid which gives them their tart and tangy flavour. Lime zest is also intensely fragrant and is better suited to a wider range of ethnic cuisines. In beverages, the ingredient is often used in cordials, carbonated drinks, flavoured waters, sports drinks, ciders, beers and spirits. The ingredient pairs well with other citrus fruits, tropical fruits, mint, cucumber and ginger. Food Ingredients First says, “Lemon, mint and lime flavours will continue to freshen-up a wide range of categories and hints of flavours provide a subtle refreshment.” In cocktails, the ingredient is used in margaritas, Moscow mules, caipirinhas, daiquiris and mojitos.

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