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Lime (from Arabic and French lim[1]) is a term referring to a number of different citrus fruits, both species and hybrids, which are typically round, green to yellow in colour, 3–6 cm in diameter, and containing sour and acidic pulp. Limes are a good source of vitamin C. Limes are often used to accent the flavours of foods and beverages. Limes are grown all year round and are usually smaller and more sour than lemons.


Limes were first grown on a large scale in southern Iraq[2] and Persia,[2] and the fruit was first grown commercially in what is today southern Iraq[2] (Babylonia).







In cooking, lime is valued both for the acidity of its juice and the floral aroma of its zest. It is a very common ingredient in authentic Mexican, Vietnamese and Thai dishes. It is also used for its pickling properties in ceviche. 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.[3][4]

Lime leaves are also an 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.

Other uses

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 scurvy but was easier to obtain on Britain’s Caribbean colonies. It was later discovered that the greater effectiveness of lemons derived from the 4-fold higher quantities of vitamin C lemon juice contains 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 nation’s navies, and being able to be at sea for lengthy periods without contracting scurvy was a huge military benefit. The British sailor acquired the nickname of being a Limey because of their usage of limes.

Lime juice is the juice of limes (citrus). It 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, raw (edible parts)
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy 126 kJ (30 kcal)
Carbohydrates 11 g
– Sugars 1.7 g
– Dietary fibre 3 g
Fat 0.2 g
Protein 0.7 g
Water 88 g
Vitamin C 29 mg (35%)
Percentages are relative to
US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient Database

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

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.[6] Furthermore, it was believed that hanging limes over sick people cured them of the illness by repelling evil spirits lurking inside the body.

Health effects

When the 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. The agent responsible for this is psoralen.

Lime contains 24 milligrams less vitamin C per 100 grams than the lemon.

Production trends

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%).

Plants known as “lime”

  • Australian limes
    • Australian desert lime (Citrus glauca)
    • Australian finger lime (Citrus australasica)
    • Australian round lime (Citrus australis)
  • Blood lime
  • Kaffir lime (Citrus hystrix) (kieffer lime; makrut, or magrood)
  • Key lime (Citrus aurantifolia) (Mexican, West Indian, or bartender’s lime)
  • Mandarin lime (Citrus limonia)
  • Musk lime (Citrofortunella mitis)
  • Palestine sweet lime (Citrus x limettioides)
  • Persian lime (Citrus x latifolia) (Tahiti or Bearss lime)
  • Rangpur 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)

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.

Written on June 8th, 2012 , Forestry Tags:

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