Fresh Limes: Cooking and Storage Tips
Fresh Lime as a Flavour in Food and Cooking
Lime is a flavour which is familiar around the world. It may be as a flavour of either drink or food but untold millions are familiar with the taste without ever actually personally having used fresh limes in their cooking. In modern times, fresh limes can be purchased by most of us fairly easily and this page is devoted to their composition and their potential uses.
What are Limes?
Limes are a citrus fruit, similar to oranges, or particularly lemons. Although the undiluted taste of fresh limes is extremely harsh and bitter and likely to be unappealing to most, it can be incorporated with other ingredients to great effect in everything from soft drinks to Asian curries.
Fresh Lime Juice
It is the juice of fresh limes which is used most often in cooking, followed by the grated zest. The lime juicing device pictured right belonged to my grandmother and is made of glass but modern lime juicing devices are more commonly made of wood. The easiest way of all to juice a lime, however? Hold your weaker hand over a bowl, open and palm upwards, with your fingers loosely together. Squeeze the juice out of each half of the lime in to it with your stronger hand. Any pips will be caught in your outstretched hand and the juice will filter between your fingers.
Preserving Fresh Limes
Depending upon the way in which we intend using fresh limes, very often there is a great deal of wastage encountered. Limes are not particularly expensive to buy but for the convenience factor alone, it makes sense if we can purchase fresh limes only occasionally, yet have their many benefits always close to hand.
This tip is not my own but one which I encountered in Germany a number of years ago. It was used to preserve fresh lime pieces to incorporate in alcoholic drinks when I encountered it but I have since used the exact same concept for a great many purposes (including that one.)
Essentially, the lime is halved, then each half is quartered, as shown in the picture to the right. The pieces are then added to a freezer dish and put in the deep freeze. My own part of this tip is to remove the dish after an hour - when the limes have started to freeze - and give it a gentle shake, before returning it to the deep freeze. This helps to prevent the pieces sticking together.
The uses of frozen lime (or lemon!) pieces in this way are many but I thought the logic of using them for alcoholic drinks was priceless. The theory is that instead of adding simple ice to a drink (which will melt and dilute the drink as well as chilling it) in addition to a piece of fruit, it is better to add the frozen fruit which will both chill it and flavour it as it melts.
Very often in the world of food and drink - as in so many others - the very simplest of tips are the best...