This small green citrus gives acidic balance and bright flavor to virtually any dish. Its stores of vitamin C saved 19th-century
British sailors from scurvy on long voyages (hence “limeys”).
Season: Persian limes, year-round; Key limes, June through August.
How to Choose Limes
Look for smooth-skinned limes that feel heavy for their size; they should yield to gentle pressure. Small brown spots won’t affect flavor, but large blemishes and soft spots indicate damage. Persian limes are the most common variety. Harder-to-find Key limes are the size and shape of a golf ball and are juicier and more tart than Persian limes; look for green skin (younger fruit) for stronger flavor and light yellow (riper fruit) for mellower flavor; and don’t buy a lime if its skin is hard.
How to Store Limes
Store limes in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to 10 days; when cut, they’ll last for up to 5 days—or freeze the juice for later use. (Squeeze cut limes into an ice cube tray, freeze, and then transfer cubes to a bag or airtight container.)
How to Prepare Limes
Wash the skin well before cutting, even if you’re just using the juice. To get more juice from a lime, try one of these techniques: Leave it out for an hour; roll it on a countertop, applying some pressure; or warm it in the microwave for 15 seconds.
How to Use Limes
Lime juice and pulp is a wonderful addition to fresh fruit salads or summery cocktails, as well as Mexican, Indian, and Caribbean fish, vegetable, and chicken dishes. Key limes are most famously used in Key lime pie. Lime juice can substitute for lemon juice in most recipes: Because of its higher acidity, use ⅔ to ¾ cup of lime juice in place of 1 cup lemon juice.
Real Simple Lime Recipes:
- Grilled Corn With Cheese and Lime
- Tart Lime Pops
- Tequila-Lime Flank Steak With Peppers and Onions
- Watercress and Green Beans With Lime Vinaigrette
- Watermelon Slices With Mint and Lime
How To: Zest CitrusHow to zest citrus like a pro: Grating the outer peel of lemons, limes, oranges, and grapefruits releases concentrated flavors. This video shows how to zest citrus—a little zest goes a long way.
Fruits and vegetables at their peak right now.
Find out what's in season in your area right now, then locate a farmers' market near you.