Citrus limetta

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Citrus Limetta
Citrus limetta.jpeg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Genus: Citrus
Species: C. limetta
Binomial name
Citrus limetta
Risso

Citrus limetta is a species of citrus, commonly known as sweet lime, sweet lemon, and sweet limetta. It is native to South- and Southeast Asia and cultivated in the Mediterranean Basin.[1]

  • In Iran it is called Limu Shirin (لیمو شیرین, meaning "Sweet lemon" in Persian).
  • In North India, it is commonly called mousambi, mosambi, or musambi (मुसंबी)[2] (in Hindi/Urdu & Marathi).
  • In South India, it is called Moosambi (in Kannada, Malayalam), Bathaya Kaayalu (బత్తాకాయలు) (in Telugu)
  • It is called sathukudi (in Tamil), from the village "Sattukkudi" (சாத்துக்குடி), where the fruit was cultivated first in Tamil Nadu.
  • It is also referred to as orange in some parts of the world.

Description[edit]

Mosambi (sweet lime) juice is a favorite citrus drink in India and Pakistan

C. limetta is a small tree up to 8 m (26 ft) in height, with irregular branches and relatively smooth, brownish-grey bark. It has numerous thorns, 1.5–7.5 cm (0.59–2.95 in) long. The petioles are narrowly but distinctly winged, and are 8–29 mm (0.31–1.14 in) long. Leaves are compound, with acuminate leaflets 5–17 cm (2.0–6.7 in) long and 2.8–8 cm (1.1–3.1 in) wide. Flowers are white, 2–3 cm (0.79–1.18 in) wide. Fruits are oval and green, ripening to yellow, with greenish pulp. The pith is white and about 5 mm (0.20 in) thick. Despite the name sweet lime, the fruit is more similar to a greenish orange in appearance.

C. limetta grows in tropical and subtropical climates. It begins bearing fruit at 5 to 7 years old, with peak production at 10 to 20 years. It is propagated by seed.

Freshly pressed sweet lime juice as served in South Asia

Flavor[edit]

As the name sweet lime suggests, the flavor is sweet and mild, but retains the essence of lime. The flavor is a bit flatter than most citrus due to its lack of acidity. It can be compared to limeade and pomelo.

Uses[edit]

Sweet lime is almost exclusively served as juice, and is the most common available citrus juice in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. The juice is commonly sold at mobile road stalls, where it is freshly pressed, sometimes served with a salty chat masala or Kala Namak, unless the vendor is told not to add it.

Like most citrus, the fruit is rich in Vitamin C, providing 50 mg per 100 g serving.[3] In Iran it is used to treat influenza and common cold.

The tree is used for ornamental purposes as well as for graft stock.[1]

Sweet Lime
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy 180 kJ (43 kcal)
9.3 g
Sugars 1.7g
Dietary fiber 0.5 g
0.3 g
0.7-0.8 g
Vitamins
Vitamin C
(60%)
50 mg
Trace metals
Calcium
(4%)
40 mg
Iron
(5%)
0.7 mg
Phosphorus
(4%)
30 mg
Potassium
(10%)
490 mg
Other constituents
Water 88 g
Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults.

Checking for ripeness[edit]

Like most citrus, sweet limes will not ripen off the tree, and must be picked when fully ripe. This is indicated by its tennis ball size and lustrous greenish yellow sheen. Gently scratch the surface of a sweet lime: If its oils give way in the fingernails, it’s ripe. The juiciest fruits feel heavy for their size.

Underripe fruit feels light for its size, and is hard with tart flesh. Overripe fruit is dull and shrunken, with dry, spongy skin. Avoid fruit with brownish-yellow discoloration.[4]

Storage[edit]

Sweet limes keep fresh for up to two weeks at room temperature, and four to eight weeks refrigerated. Frozen juice will keep for up to six months. It’s possible to freeze slices of the fruit, though the limonin content may cause the pulp to taste bitter over time. This can be avoided by submerging the slices in sweet syrup within an airtight glass jar.

References[edit]