Limes are small in size, measuring 5-7 centimeters in height and 4-6 centimeters in diameter, and are globular to oblong in shape. The rind, also known as the peel, is thin, smooth and slightly bumpy with many small oil glands visible across the surface, and glossy green transitioning into a yellow hue with maturity. Underneath the rind, the flesh is soft, juicy, pale green, seedless or may contain a few small inedible seeds, and is divided into 10-12 sections by thin white membranes. Limes, depending on the variety, have an aromatic, floral scent with an acidic, tangy, and bright flavor with notes of pine and spice.
Limes are available year-round.
Limes are best suited for fresh applications, and both the juice and zest can be used. Lime juice is a natural tenderizer for meats and is often used in marinades, particularly for ceviche, and can also be used over any dish as a finishing flavor. The juice is also used to flavor salsa and guacamole, doubling as an anti-browning agent for the avocado, used in vinegar, dressings, and sauces, and is commercially produced for limeade. The zest offers bright, citrusy flavors and is used in many of the same applications including baked goods, desserts, and beverages. In Malaysia, Limes are used for jams, jellies, and marmalade. They are also used in India preserved in syrups or pickled for use as a condiment. Limes may be sliced lengthwise or quartered and used as a garnish for cocktails. Limes pair well with meats such as poultry, turkey, beef, pork, and seafood, cauliflower, bell pepper, kale, onions, garlic, avocado, mango, coconut, quinoa, rice, black beans, and herbs such as cilantro, thyme, and oregano. The fruits will keep 1-2 weeks when stored at room temperature and 3-4 weeks when stored in a plastic bag in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator.