Just as your summer cravings for mojitos, juicy salsas and poisson cru subside, the citrus fruit at the heart of such refreshing concoctions comes into season, and the price begins to fall from the absurd to something much more realistic. Someone needs to tell limes to sort their seasons out! As it is, limes begin to get more affordable around April, and reach their peak this month. Most of the limes grown commercially here are the Tahitian variety (also known as Persian lime), a juicy, seedless all-rounder for use in savoury and sweet dishes. Other varieties include kaffir lime, the leaves of which are more sought after than the knobbly fruit; Key limes, the more acidic and bitter star of the eponymous Floridian meringue-topped pie, and – juicier brother to the Key, and therefore excellent for cocktail-making – the Mexican lime.
Buying, storing & cooking.
- Tahitian limes are, in fact, unripe when bright green and glossy, but that is how they are sold in shops, presumably because buyers find them more appealing that way. Limes of that colour won’t be very juicy. The ripe fruit that will give you the most juice for your dollar have pale yellow skins that are still smooth – you’re more likely to find them at a market. But avoid shrivelled looking yellow limes; they’re old.
- Store limes in the fruit bowl until ripe, then in a brown paper bag in the vegetable crisper.
- The flavour of limes is destroyed by cooking, so add the juice at the end, or towards the end, of cooking.