A lime (from Arabic and French lim) is a hybrid citrus fruit, which is typically round, lime green, 3–6 centimetres (1.2–2.4 in) in diameter, and containing acidic juice vesicles. 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. 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. Plants with fruit called "limes" have diverse genetic origins; limes do not form a monophyletic group.
Plants known as "lime"
- Australian limes (former Microcitrus and Eremocitrus)
- Kaffir lime (Citrus hystrix); also called a kieffer lime, makrut, or magrood; a papeda relative.
- Key lime (Citrus aurantifolia=Citrus micrantha x Citrus medica); also called Mexican, West Indian, or bartender's lime.
- Musk lime (Citrofortunella mitis), a kumquat hybrid
- Persian lime (Citrus x latifolia), also called Tahiti or Bearss lime.
- Rangpur lime (Mandarin lime, lemandarin), a mandarin orange – rough lemon hybrid
- Spanish lime (Melicoccus bijugatus); also calledmamoncillo, mamón, ginep, quenepa, or limoncillo); not a citrus.
- Sweet lime etc. (Citrus limetta etc.); assorted citrus hybrids) including varieties called sweet lemon, sweet limetta or Mediterranean sweet lemon, lumia, Indian or Palestinian sweet lime.
- Wild lime (Adelia ricinella); not a citrus.
- Wild lime (Zanthoxylum fagara); not a citrus.
- Limequat (lime × kumquat)
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.
To prevent scurvy during the 19th century, British sailors were issued a daily allowance of citrus, such as lemon, and later switched to lime. 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.
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 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 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.
Health effects and research
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
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). Limes are a good source of dietary fiber and contain numerous other nutrients in small quantities.
Phytochemicals and research
When human skin is exposed to ultraviolet light after contact with lime peel or juice, 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 and other phototoxic coumarins in limes. The main coumarin in limes is limettin which has manifold higher content in peels than in pulp. Persian limes have a higher content of coumarins and potentially greater phototoxicity than do Key limes.
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 five lemon and lime producers – 2012|
|People's Republic of China||2,300,000F|
^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ F = FAO estimate
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Lime.|
- Adrian Room (1986). A dictionary of true etymologies. Taylor & Francis. p. 101.
- Rotter, Ben. "Fruit Data: Yield, Sugar, Acidity, Tannin". Improved Winemaking. Retrieved 2014-09-03.
- "Next generation haplotyping to decipher nuclear genomic interspecific admixture in Citrus species: analysis of chromosome 2". BMC Genetics 15. doi:10.1186/s12863-014-0152-1.
- Li, Xiaomeng; Xie, Rangjin; Lu, Zhenhua; Zhou, Zhiqin (July 2010). "The Origin of Cultivated Citrus as Inferred from Internal Transcribed Spacer and Chloroplast DNA Sequence and Amplified Fragment Length Polymorphism Fingerprints". Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science. Archived from the original on 24 April 2015. Retrieved 24 April 2015.
- Wall, Tim (18 January 2011). "Citrus Fruit Gets Paternity Test". Discovery.com. Discovery. Archived from the original on 30 January 2013. Retrieved 24 April 2015.
- "Australian Blood Lime". homecitrusgrowers.co.uk.
- 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" (PDF). Section of the History of Medicine, publisher not shown. 3 February 1971.
- "Limey". Oxford Dictionaries. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 23 April 2013.
- Limes - USDA NDB # 09159 "Nutritional values for limes" Check
|url=scheme (help). US Department of Agriculture, National Nutrient Database. 2014.
- 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.
- 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.
- L. Kanerva (2000). Handbook of Occupational Dermatology. Springer. p. 318. ISBN 978-3-540-64046-2.
- Nigg HN, Nordby HE, Beier RC, Dillman A, Macias C, Hansen RC (1993). "Phototoxic coumarins in limes". Food Chem Toxicol 31 (5): 331–5. PMID 8505017.
- 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.