Lime (fruit)

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For other uses, see Lime (disambiguation).

A lime (from Arabic and French lim)[1] is a citrus fruit, which is typically round, green, 3–6 centimetres (1.2–2.4 in) in diameter, and containing sour (acidic) pulp.[2] There are several species of citrus trees whose fruits are called limes, including the Key lime (Citrus aurantifolia), Persian lime, kaffir lime, and desert lime.[2] Limes are an excellent source of vitamin C, and are often used to accent the flavours of foods and beverages. They are grown year-round in tropical climates and are usually smaller and less sour than lemons, although varieties may differ in sugar and acidic content.[3]

Plants known as "lime"[edit]

A hybrid fruit in India

The tree known in Britain as the lime tree (Tilia sp.), called the linden in other dialects of English, is a broadleaf temperate plant unrelated to the citrus fruits.

History[edit]

Limes were first grown[when?] on a large scale in southern Iraq[4] and Persia,[4] and the fruit was first grown commercially in what is today southern Iraq (Babylonia).[4]

To prevent scurvy during the 19th century, British sailors were issued a daily allowance of citrus, such as lemon, and later switched to lime,[5] which was not as effective at preventing the nutritional deficiency disorder 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). The use of citrus was initially a closely guarded military secret, as scurvy was a common scourge of various national navies, and the ability to remain at sea for lengthy periods without contracting the disorder was a huge benefit for the military. The British sailor thus acquired the nickname, "Limey" because of their usage of limes.[6]

Uses[edit]

Lime (Citrus latifolia) cold-pressed essential oil

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.

Lime pickles are an integral part of Indian cuisine. South Indian cuisine is heavily based on lime that having either lemon pickle or lime pickle is considered a must of Onam Sadhya.

Zesting a lime
Lime and Blossom growing in southern Spain

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 ingredient of many cuisines from India, and many varieties of pickles are made, e.g. sweetened lime pickle, salted pickle, and lime chutney.

Key lime gives the character flavouring to the American dessert known as Key lime pie. In Australia, desert lime is used for making marmalade.

Lime is an 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 extracts and lime essential oils are frequently used in perfumes, cleaning products, and aromatherapy.

Health effects and research[edit]

Nutritional value[edit]

Limes, raw
Lime-Whole-Split.jpg
Lime fruits, in cross section and whole
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy 126 kJ (30 kcal)
10.5 g
Sugars 1.7 g
Dietary fiber 2.8 g
0.2 g
0.7 g
Vitamins
Thiamine (B1)
(3%)
0.03 mg
Riboflavin (B2)
(2%)
0.02 mg
Niacin (B3)
(1%)
0.2 mg
(4%)
0.217 mg
Vitamin B6
(4%)
0.046 mg
Folate (B9)
(2%)
8 μg
Vitamin C
(35%)
29.1 mg
Trace metals
Calcium
(3%)
33 mg
Iron
(5%)
0.6 mg
Magnesium
(2%)
6 mg
Phosphorus
(3%)
18 mg
Potassium
(2%)
102 mg
Sodium
(0%)
2 mg

Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient Database

As compared to lemons, limes contain less vitamin C, but the amount is still an excellent source, providing 35% of the Daily Value per 100 g serving (right table).[7] Limes are a good source of dietary fiber and contain numerous other nutrients in small quantities (right table).

Phytochemicals and research[edit]

Lime flesh and peel contain diverse phytochemicals, including polyphenols and terpenes,[8] many of which are under basic research for their potential properties in humans.[9]

Dermatitis[edit]

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.[10] The main furanocoumarin in limes is lemittin.[11]

Production trends[edit]

China, India and Mexico, together having about 43% of the world's overall lemon and lime output, top the production list for 2012, followed by Argentina and Brazil (table below).

Top ten lemon and lime producers — 2012
Country Production
(Tonnes)
 People's Republic of China 2,300,000F
 India 2,200,000F
 Mexico 2,070,764F
 Argentina 1,300,000F
 Brazil 1,208,275F
 World 15,118,462A

^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ F = FAO estimate
^ ^ ^ P = Official figure
^ A = Aggregate (may include official, semi-official or estimates)
Source: Food And Agricultural Organization of United Nations: Economic And Social Department: The Statistical Division

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Adrian Room (1986). A dictionary of true etymologies. Taylor & Francis. p. 101. 
  2. ^ a b c "Line (fruit)". New World Encyclopedia. August 2014. Retrieved 14 January 2015. 
  3. ^ Rotter, Ben. "Fruit Data: Yield, Sugar, Acidity, Tannin". Improved Winemaking. Retrieved 2014-09-03. 
  4. ^ a b c Raichlen, Steven (August 2, 1992). "Small citruses yield tart juice, aromatic oils, big, fresh taste". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved 30 March 2012. 
  5. ^ "State of knowledge about scurvy". Section of the History of Medicine, publisher not shown. 3 February 1971. 
  6. ^ "Limey". Oxford Dictionaries. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 23 April 2013. 
  7. ^ Limes - USDA NDB # 09159 "Nutritional values for limes". US Department of Agriculture, National Nutrient Database. 2014. 
  8. ^ Loizzo MR, Tundis R, Bonesi M, Menichini F, De Luca D, Colica C, Menichini F (2012). "Evaluation of Citrus aurantifolia peel and leaves extracts for their chemical composition, antioxidant and anti-cholinesterase activities". J Sci Food Agric 92 (15): 2960–7. doi:10.1002/jsfa.5708. PMID 22589172. 
  9. ^ Patil JR, Chidambara Murthy KN, Jayaprakasha GK, Chetti MB, Patil BS (2009). "Bioactive compounds from Mexican lime ( Citrus aurantifolia ) juice induce apoptosis in human pancreatic cells". J Agric Food Chem 57 (22): 10933–42. doi:10.1021/jf901718u. PMID 19919125. 
  10. ^ L. Kanerva (2000). Handbook of Occupational Dermatology.. Springer. p. 318. ISBN 978-3-540-64046-2. 
  11. ^ Gorgus E, Lohr C, Raquet N, Guth S, Schrenk D (2010). "Limettin and furocoumarins in beverages containing citrus juices or extracts". Food Chem Toxicol 48 (1): 93–8. doi:10.1016/j.fct.2009.09.021. PMID 19770019.