The small, green fruits of the Mexican lime (Citrus aurantiifolia) can usually be found in German supermarkets. This is also known as “Bartender Lime” because its juice is often used in cocktails. However, there are also a number of other types of lime that are indispensable as a spice or juice in many dishes, especially in Southeast Asian countries, the Caribbean and the USA. In general, limes are more sensitive than lemons and - in contrast to these - cannot tolerate any winter temperatures. Therefore, the maintenance of this plant, which originates from the tropics and subtropics, is more complicated than that of other citrus species.
- Bring the exotic kaffir lime well over the winter
- The origin of the lime
- Is lime and lime the same fruit?
Different types of lime
Lemons usually stand out because of their bright yellow skin when ripe, and the fist-sized berries are significantly larger than those of a lime. Lemons are also shaped differently: Limes are usually round and have a smooth skin, while lemons, on the other hand, have a more elongated-oval shape and are rougher. There are different types of lime, some of which are little known in Germany or not at all. Some of the fruits can also take on a yellow to orange-yellow color. At this point, the three best-known varieties should be presented.
Mexican lime (Citrus aurantiifolia)
The “Bartender Lime” grows as a small, heavily branched and thorny bush with filigree branches. The flower buds are slightly tinged purple when exposed to strong sunlight. The leaf is dull green and about the size of a mandarin leaf. The variety is very sensitive to cold and difficult to hibernate. The small fruits are very thin-skinned, juicy, light green to pale yellow and rich in seeds.
Persian lime (Citrus latifolia)
This variety is almost as robust as lemons and almost always seedless due to the sterility of the ovules (i.e. the Persian lime cannot be grown from seeds!). The Persian lime bears many aromatic fruits every year and has a much shorter ripening time than lemons. The berries are harvested between March and December.
Kaffir Lime (Citrus hystrix)
It is a tropical species that is very suitable for the winter garden as well as for a greenhouse and indoor culture. The shrub bears small, greenish-yellow to yellow-skinned fruits with a diameter of about six centimeters. These have a very wavy, wrinkled skin when ripe. The pulp is green.
Tips & Tricks
In Thailand in particular, the leaves of the kaffir lime are used as a spice, similar to ours in the bay leaves. They can be cooked (especially in stews), but not eaten.