Lime

Lime

Citrus aurantiifolia

Lime will help lower blood sugar, digestion and keep your skin clear.

  • Plant type: Perennial
  • Other names:
  • Medicinal: Yes
  • Culinary: Yes
  • Ceremonial: No
  • Parts Used: Fruit
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About Lime

With those acidic juice vesicles and fresh green color in hand, lime is the most talked and approachable specie of the genus Citrus. Sitting proudly among the members of the Rutaceae family, lime has grabbed a bit more limelight due to its fervent use and availability.

Limes are used to pronounce the taste of savory dishes and beverages. The genus Citrus is heavy with a large variety of species that are commonly called lime. This makes it difficult for English speakers when they turn up at the markets. Also, the species of the Citrus genus hybridize frequently resulting in quite a load of new species too.

Historically, an event regarding the treatment of scurvy through lime has earned it quite a reputation. Limes are packed sugar, vitamin B complex and C, and minerals like potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, and sodium. Its medicinal usage imparts healthy-looking, glowing skin. It also promotes healthy digestion, keeps the infections at bay, helps with obesity, and reduces blood sugar levels and chances of contracting heart diseases.

Growing

Lime can be started during autumn but it is prohibited if the region is liable to receive harsh winters. Limes are extremely frost sensitive, just like lemons. They can be started both indoors and outdoors.

The dried lime seeds are washed and pat dried before being subjected to the ground. They require a warm location that receives at least 6 hours of direct sunlight. The soil must be kept moist (but not squashy) and it should have a well-drainage system too.

Lime seeds are quick to germinate. Within a week or two, the seeds transform into seedlings. These seedlings should be protected from winter and can be taken indoors in a container.

Soon, the seedlings grow up to showcase glossy leaves. From late spring, the plant initiates flowering to begin with the process of pollination by the hands of insects. After fertilization, the flowers turn into fruits which bear more a seed that gets disperse by the animals to start their own plant in the wild.

Note: Both developing and ripening fruits can be witnessed on the same tree because the lime tree flowers non-uniformly.

Harvesting

Limes are harvested when they are green. Yellow limes are vividly avoided because they are very bitter and taste bad.

Lime fruit is handpicked by twisting and plucking the fruit in a downward motion.

Limes can be stored on the counter or in the refrigerator. 

Lime can also be dried in the oven before slicing it up thinly and splaying on the baking sheet. They should be crispy and rough on the fingers once they come out of the oven. The process can take 2-3 hours to complete. The dried slices are then stored in airtight glass jars.

Usage

For thousands of years, lime is used in different fields for the betterment of life.

  • Tincture - Infuse dried lime zest in grain alcohol for 4 to 6 weeks. Strain the liquid and place it in a dark and dry place. 
  • Tea - Dried lime slices are paired with honey in hot boiling water to make lime tea.
  • Decoction - The lime peel is rolled with water on a medium flame for 5 to 4 hours to form lime decoction.
  • Salve - Lime zest infused oil is prepared and added to the melted beeswax to form lime salve.
  • Syrup - Freshly sliced limes are rolled with sugar solution for few minutes to form a lime syrup.
  • Infused oil - Lime zests are allowed to sit with olive oil (or jojoba oil) for 3 to 5 weeks in a glass bottle on a sunny windowsill to form lime-infused oil.