Citrus aurantifolia (Christm.) Swing.
September – May
The Mexican Lime originated in the Malayan Archipelago, after the natural hybridization between a small flowered Papeda and a Citron. This lime has been known for centuries in many tropical regions of Asia and was probably brought to Europe by the Arabs. In the USA it was already cultivated in 1838 (Florida), where it is known as Key West Lime. It is generally known as Mexican Lime because Mexico is the world’s largest producer. Its cultivation is limited by its pronounced sensitivity to cold.
TREE AND FRUIT DESCRIPTION:
Small-medium sized tree, with thorns and dense foliage. Aromatic leaves, less shiny than other citrus. Small and round fruit, with small apical mamelon. The rind is thin and smooth, compact, dark green at first and yellowish when ripe. Juicy pulp, very acidic, with a distinctive aroma and yellow-greenish color. It has seeds.
Traditionally is consumed green, perhaps to avoid confusion with lemons or because it becomes less juicy and aromatic with maturity. It is considered the best lime for seasoning fish dishes. Its rind and juice represent the typical flavor and fragrance of the lime. It is used to prepare alcoholic cocktails (Daiquiri, Caipirinha, Margarita…). In East Asia, the fruit is dried whole in the sun, then ground and used as an aromatic acidifier. Its rind is added to salads, breads, desserts, soups, vegetables, sauces and condiments.