Lime (fruit)
Overview
 
Lime is a term referring to a number of different citrus
Citrus
Citrus is a common term and genus of flowering plants in the rue family, Rutaceae. Citrus is believed to have originated in the part of Southeast Asia bordered by Northeastern India, Myanmar and the Yunnan province of China...

 fruits, both species
Species
In biology, a species is one of the basic units of biological classification and a taxonomic rank. A species is often defined as a group of organisms capable of interbreeding and producing fertile offspring. While in many cases this definition is adequate, more precise or differing measures are...

 and hybrids, which are typically round, green to yellow in color, 3–6 cm in diameter
Diameter
In geometry, a diameter of a circle is any straight line segment that passes through the center of the circle and whose endpoints are on the circle. The diameters are the longest chords of the circle...

, and containing sour and acidic pulp
Juice vesicles
The juice vesicles of a citrus fruit are the membranous content of the fruit’s endocarp. The vesicles contain the juice of the fruit. The pulp is usually removed from the juice by filtering it out...

. Limes are a good source of vitamin C
Vitamin C
Vitamin C or L-ascorbic acid or L-ascorbate is an essential nutrient for humans and certain other animal species. In living organisms ascorbate acts as an antioxidant by protecting the body against oxidative stress...

. Limes are often used to accent the flavors of foods and beverages. Limes are grown all year round and are usually smaller and more sour than lemons.
In cooking
Cooking
Cooking is the process of preparing food by use of heat. Cooking techniques and ingredients vary widely across the world, reflecting unique environmental, economic, and cultural traditions. Cooks themselves also vary widely in skill and training...

, lime is valued both for the acidity of its juice and the floral aroma of its zest
Zest (ingredient)
Zest is a food ingredient that is prepared by scraping or cutting from the outer, colorful skin of citrus fruits such as lemon, orange, citron, and lime. Zest is used to add flavor to foods....

.
Encyclopedia
Lime is a term referring to a number of different citrus
Citrus
Citrus is a common term and genus of flowering plants in the rue family, Rutaceae. Citrus is believed to have originated in the part of Southeast Asia bordered by Northeastern India, Myanmar and the Yunnan province of China...

 fruits, both species
Species
In biology, a species is one of the basic units of biological classification and a taxonomic rank. A species is often defined as a group of organisms capable of interbreeding and producing fertile offspring. While in many cases this definition is adequate, more precise or differing measures are...

 and hybrids, which are typically round, green to yellow in color, 3–6 cm in diameter
Diameter
In geometry, a diameter of a circle is any straight line segment that passes through the center of the circle and whose endpoints are on the circle. The diameters are the longest chords of the circle...

, and containing sour and acidic pulp
Juice vesicles
The juice vesicles of a citrus fruit are the membranous content of the fruit’s endocarp. The vesicles contain the juice of the fruit. The pulp is usually removed from the juice by filtering it out...

. Limes are a good source of vitamin C
Vitamin C
Vitamin C or L-ascorbic acid or L-ascorbate is an essential nutrient for humans and certain other animal species. In living organisms ascorbate acts as an antioxidant by protecting the body against oxidative stress...

. Limes are often used to accent the flavors of foods and beverages. Limes are grown all year round and are usually smaller and more sour than lemons.

Cooking

In cooking
Cooking
Cooking is the process of preparing food by use of heat. Cooking techniques and ingredients vary widely across the world, reflecting unique environmental, economic, and cultural traditions. Cooks themselves also vary widely in skill and training...

, lime is valued both for the acidity of its juice and the floral aroma of its zest
Zest (ingredient)
Zest is a food ingredient that is prepared by scraping or cutting from the outer, colorful skin of citrus fruits such as lemon, orange, citron, and lime. Zest is used to add flavor to foods....

. It is a very common ingredient in authentic Mexican, Southwestern United States
Cuisine of the Southwestern United States
The Cuisine of the Southwestern United States is food styled after the rustic cooking of the Southwestern United States. It is also known to be very popular in the west coast state of California...

, Vietnamese
Cuisine of Vietnam
Vietnamese cuisine is a style of cooking derived from Vietnam. Fish sauce and paste, soy paste, rice, fresh herbs, fruits and vegetables are commonly used. Vietnamese recipes utilize a diverse range of herbs, including lemongrass, mint, Vietnamese mint, long coriander and Thai basil leaves...

 and Thai
Cuisine of Thailand
Thai cuisine is the national cuisine of Thailand. Blending elements of several Southeast Asian traditions, Thai cooking places emphasis on lightly prepared dishes with strong aromatic components. The spiciness of Thai cuisine is well known. As with other Asian cuisines, balance, detail and variety...

 dishes. It is also used for its pickling
Pickling
Pickling, also known as brining or corning is the process of preserving food by anaerobic fermentation in brine to produce lactic acid, or marinating and storing it in an acid solution, usually vinegar . The resulting food is called a pickle. This procedure gives the food a salty or sour taste...

 properties in ceviche
Ceviche
Ceviche is a seafood dish popular in the coastal regions of the Americas, especially Central and South America. The dish is typically made from fresh raw fish marinated in citrus juices such as lemon or lime and spiced with chilli peppers. Additional seasonings such as onion, salt,...

. The use of dried limes (called black lime
Black lime
Black Lime is a spice used in Middle Eastern dishes. It is made by boiling fresh lime in salt water and sun drying until the insides turn black. The outside color varies from tan to black. It is sold whole or ground.-Uses:Black limes are usually used in legume, seafood or meat dishes...

 or loomi) as a flavouring is typical of Persian cuisine and Iraqi cuisine, as well as in Gulf
Arab states of the Persian Gulf
"Arab states of the Persian Gulf" or "Arab Persian Gulf states" or "Persian Gulf Arab states" or "Arabic Persian Gulf states" or "Arab States of The Gulf", are terms that refer to the six Arab states of Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain and Oman, bordering the Persian Gulf....

-style baharat
Baharat
Bahārāt is a spice mixture or blend used in Arab cuisine, especially in the Mashriq area, as well as in Turkish and Iranian cuisine. Bahārāt is the Arabic word for 'spices'...

(a spice mix
Spice mix
Spice mixes are blended spices or herbs. When a certain combination of herbs or spices is called for in many different recipes , it is convenient to blend these ingredients beforehand...

ture 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.

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
Scurvy
Scurvy is a disease resulting from a deficiency of vitamin C, which is required for the synthesis of collagen in humans. The chemical name for vitamin C, ascorbic acid, is derived from the Latin name of scurvy, scorbutus, which also provides the adjective scorbutic...

 during the 19th century, British sailors
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

 were issued a daily allowance of citrus, such as lemon
Lemon
The lemon is both a small evergreen tree native to Asia, and the tree's ellipsoidal yellow fruit. The fruit is used for culinary and non-culinary purposes throughout the world – primarily for its juice, though the pulp and rind are also used, mainly in cooking and baking...

, and later switched to lime, which was not as effective at preventing scurvy but was easier to obtain on Britain's Caribbean
Caribbean
The Caribbean is a crescent-shaped group of islands more than 2,000 miles long separating the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, to the west and south, from the Atlantic Ocean, to the east and north...

 colonies. It was later discovered that the greater effectiveness of lemons derived from the 4-fold higher quantities of vitamin C
Vitamin C
Vitamin C or L-ascorbic acid or L-ascorbate is an essential nutrient for humans and certain other animal species. In living organisms ascorbate acts as an antioxidant by protecting the body against oxidative stress...

 lemon juice contains compared to the West Indian limes used by the British.

Lime juice is the juice of limes
Lime (fruit)
Lime is a term referring to a number of different citrus fruits, both species and hybrids, which are typically round, green to yellow in color, 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 flavors of foods and...

 (citrus
Citrus
Citrus is a common term and genus of flowering plants in the rue family, Rutaceae. Citrus is believed to have originated in the part of Southeast Asia bordered by Northeastern India, Myanmar and the Yunnan province of China...

). It may be squeezed from fresh limes, or purchased in bottles in both unsweetened and sweetened varieties. Lime juice is used to make limeade
Limeade
Limeade is a beverage similar to lemonade, but is made with lime juice or lime flavour instead of those of the lemon. Rose's lime juice, a concentrated drink patented in 1867, is one of the best-known brands. A.G. Barr plc of Glasgow produce a limeade as does Newman's Own since 2004...

, and as an ingredient (typically as sour mix
Sour mix
Sour mix is a mixer used in many cocktails. It is made from approximately equal parts lemon and/or lime juice and simple syrup and shaken vigorously with ice...

) in many cocktail
Cocktail
A cocktail is an alcoholic mixed drink that contains two or more ingredients—at least one of the ingredients must be a spirit.Cocktails were originally a mixture of spirits, sugar, water, and bitters. The word has come to mean almost any mixed drink that contains alcohol...

s.

Lime extracts and essential oils are frequently used in perfume
Perfume
Perfume is a mixture of fragrant essential oils and/or aroma compounds, fixatives, and solvents used to give the human body, animals, objects, and living spaces "a pleasant scent"...

s, cleaning products, and aromatherapy
Aromatherapy
Aromatherapy is a form of alternative medicine that uses volatile plant materials, known as essential oils, and other aromatic compounds for the purpose of altering a person's mind, mood, cognitive function or health....

.

In India, the lime is used in Tantra
Tantra
Tantra , anglicised tantricism or tantrism or tantram, is the name scholars give to an inter-religious spiritual movement that arose in medieval India, expressed in scriptures ....

 for removing evil spirits. It is also combined with Indian chilis to make a protective charm to repel the evil eye. 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
Phytophotodermatitis
Phytophotodermatitis is a chemical reaction which makes skin hypersensitive to ultraviolet light. It is frequently mistaken for hereditary conditions such as atopic dermatitis or chemical burns, but it is caused by contact with the photosensitizing compounds found naturally in some plants and...

 can occur, which can cause darkening of the skin, swelling or blistering. The agent responsible for this is psoralen
Psoralen
Psoralen is the parent compound in a family of natural products known as furocoumarins. It is structurally related to coumarin by the addition of a fused furan ring, and may be considered as a derivative of umbelliferone...

.

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%).
Top ten lemon and limes producers — 2007
Country Production
(Tonne
Tonne
The tonne, known as the metric ton in the US , often put pleonastically as "metric tonne" to avoid confusion with ton, is a metric system unit of mass equal to 1000 kilograms. The tonne is not an International System of Units unit, but is accepted for use with the SI...

s)
2,060,000
1,880,000
1,260,000
1,060,000
880,000
745,100
722,000
706,652
615,000
546,584
World 13,032,388

F = FAO estimate
P = Official figure
A = Aggregate (may include official, semi-official or estimates)
Source: Food And Agricultural Organization of United Nations: Economic And Social Department: The Statistical Division


Plants known as "lime"

  • Australian lime
    Australian lime
    Australian limes are species of the plant genus Citrus that are native to Australia. These species were formerly included in the genera Microcitrus and Eremocitrus...

    s
    • Australian desert lime (Citrus glauca)
    • Australian finger lime (Citrus australasica)
    • Australian round lime
      Citrus australis
      Round lime , also known as Australian lime or Australian round lime, is a large shrub or small tree of a height of up to 12m. It grows in the Beenleigh area, Queensland, Australia....

       (Citrus australis)
  • Blood lime
    Blood lime
    Blood limes are a hybrid citrus fruit developed by the CSIRO project to investigate salt-resistant crops. While the limes proved unsuitable for high-salt conditions, they have seen some commercial development; the first commercial crop appeared in markets in Australia in July 2004, and are under...

  • Kaffir lime
    Kaffir lime
    The kaffir lime, Citrus × hystrix, Rutaceae), is also known as combava, kieffer lime, limau purut, jeruk purut or makrut lime,...

     (Citrus hystrix) (kieffer lime; makrut, or magrood)
  • Key lime
    Key lime
    The Key lime is a citrus species with a globose fruit, 2.5–5 cm in diameter , that is yellow when ripe but usually picked green commercially. It is smaller, seedier, has a higher acidity, a stronger aroma, and a thinner rind than that of the Persian 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
    Persian lime
    Persian lime , also known as Tahiti lime or Bearss lime , is a citrus fruit sold simply as a "lime" in the United States...

     (Citrus x latifolia) (Tahiti or Bearss lime)
  • Rangpur lime
    Rangpur (fruit)
    Rangpur, Citrus × limonia, also known as lemandarin, is a hybrid between the mandarin orange and the lemon. It is a citrus fruit with a very acidic taste and an orange peel and flesh.-Nomenclature:...

    , 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
    Limequat
    The limequat is a citrus tree that is the result of a cross between the Key lime and the kumquat, hybridized by Dr. Walter Swingle in 1909.-Description:...

     (lime × kumquat)


The tree known in Britain as the lime tree (Tilia sp.) is unrelated to the fruits.
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