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Lime (from Arabic and French lim) is a term referring to a citrus fruit which is typically round, green, 3–6 cm in diameter, and containing sour (acidic) pulp. There are several species of citrus trees whose fruits are called limes, including the Key lime, Persian lime, kaffir lime, and desert lime. Limes are a good source of vitamin C, and are often used to accent the flavours of foods and beverages. They are grown year-round and are usually smaller and less sour than lemons.
To prevent scurvy during the 19th century, British sailors were issued a daily allowance of citrus, such as lemon, and later switched to lime, which was not as effective at preventing scurvy but was easier to obtain in Britain's Caribbean colonies. It was later discovered that the greater effectiveness of lemons derived from the four-fold higher quantities of vitamin C contained in lemon juice compared to the West Indian limes used by the British. This was initially a closely guarded military secret, as scurvy was a common enemy of various nations' navies, and the ability to remain at sea for lengthy periods without contracting scurvy was a huge benefit for the military. The British sailor thus acquired the nickname of being a "Limey" because of their usage of limes.
Lime juice may be squeezed from fresh limes, or purchased in bottles in both unsweetened and sweetened varieties. Lime juice is used to make limeade, and as an ingredient (typically as sour mix) in many cocktails.
In India, the lime is used in Tantra for removing evil spirits. It is also combined with Indian chillies to make a protective charm to repel the evil eye. Furthermore, it was believed that hanging limes over sick people cured them of the illness by repelling evil spirits lurking inside the body.
In cooking, lime is valued both for the acidity of its juice and the floral aroma of its zest. It is a common ingredient in authentic Mexican, Vietnamese and Thai dishes. It is also used for its pickling properties in ceviche. Some guacamole recipes call for lime juice.
The use of dried limes (called black lime or loomi) as a flavouring is typical of Persian cuisine and Iraqi cuisine, as well as in Gulf-style baharat (a spice mixture that is also called kabsa or kebsa).
Lime is an essential ingredient of any cuisine from India, and many varieties of pickles are made, e.g. sweetened lime pickle, salted pickle, and lime chutney.
Lime leaves are also used as a herb in South, East, and Southeast Asia. Lime is frequently used to add flavour to cold and hot drinks, including water, tonic and other cocktails.
Lime is an essential ingredient in several highball cocktails, often based on gin, such as gin and tonic, the gimlet and the Rickey. Freshly squeezed lime juice is also considered a key ingredient in margaritas, although sometimes lemon juice is substituted.
Lime fruits, in cross section and whole
|Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)|
|Energy||126 kJ (30 kcal)|
|Dietary fiber||2.8 g|
|Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient Database
When human skin is exposed to ultraviolet light after lime juice contact, a reaction known as phytophotodermatitis can occur, which can cause darkening of the skin, swelling or blistering. Bartenders handling limes and other citrus fruits when preparing cocktails may develop phytophotodermatitis due to the high concentration of furocoumarins in limes. The main furanocoumarin in limes is lemittin
India, with about 16% of the world's overall lemon and lime output, tops the production list, followed by Mexico (~14.5%), Argentina (~10%), Brazil (~8%), and Spain (~7%).
|Top ten lemon and lime producers — 2007|
|People's Republic of China||745,100F|
^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ F = FAO estimate
Plants known as "lime"
- Australian limes
- Kaffir lime (Citrus hystrix) (kieffer lime; makrut, or magrood)
- Key lime (Citrus aurantifolia) (Mexican, West Indian, or bartender's lime)
- Musk lime (Citrofortunella mitis)
- Persian lime (Citrus x latifolia) (Tahiti or Bearss lime)
- Rangpur lime (Mandarin lime), a mandarin orange - lemon hybrid
- Spanish lime (Melicoccus bijugatus) (mamoncillo, mamón, ginep, quenepa, or limoncillo) (not a citrus)
- Sweet lime (Citrus limetta) (sweet limetta, Mediterranean sweet lemon)
- Wild lime (Adelia ricinella)
- Limequat (lime × kumquat)
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- Adrian Room (1986). A dictionary of true etymologies. Taylor & Francis. p. 101.
- Raichlen, Steven (August 2, 1992). "Small citruses yield tart juice, aromatic oils, big, fresh taste". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved 30 March 2012.
- State of knowledge about scurvy
- "Limey". Oxford Dictionaries. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 23 April 2013.
- L. Kanerva (2000). Handbook of Occupational Dermatology.. Springer. p. 318. ISBN 978-3-540-64046-2.
- Gorgus E. et. al. Food Chem Toxicol. 2010 Jan;48(1):93-8. doi: 10.1016/j.fct.2009.09.021. Epub 2009 Sep 19.
- Limes - USDA NDB # 09159
- Lemons - USDA NDB # 09150