Finger limes

Tangy little bubbles of flavour

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Also Finger lime, sunrise lime (actually a CSIRO hybrid), lime caviar.

Latin name:
Citrus australasica.

This is a true member of the Citrus family, along with lemons, limes, oranges, etc.

Eating


  • A true lime, but the juice is contained in small, intensely-flavour “bubbles” of liquid. The fun comes in popping between the teeth for an intense burst of flavour.
  • The bubbles are best used fresh, in both sweet and savoury dishes.
  • Excellent squeezed on to seafood, especially oysters and any sashimi
  • Add to drinks and cocktails, especially gin and tonics, particular if it’s a local or native-flavour gin
  • Top sweets, such as cheesecake, yoghurt, or fruit salads
  • Mix into salads, either sprinkled on top of the leaves or added to dressings and mayonnaises
  • Finish hot dishes just before serving, such as stir-fries or curries
  • The whole lime can be dried until completely hard and firm, and then used either whole or ground to add a rich, zingy, tangy flavour to a range of dishes.

Growing


This is a sub-tropical understory plant, naturally found along the coast of NSW and southern Qld.

It grows in the ACT region with a certain care:

  • Keep protected from frost, extreme winds, and direct summer sunlight for the first few years
  • Keep up the water
  • Use a native fertiliser
  • Tip-prune if you want it kept to a certain size or shape.
  • It does well as a container plant, or planted directly against the side of the house – interestingly, not necessarily the north or western sides. Early morning sun is excellent.
  • It can grow into quite a tall tree even in the Canberra region – we regularly harvest from one tree in Watson that’s almost larger than the house.

Harvesting and storage


  • Harvest finger limes between November and June, depending on your location.
  • Harvest when they are large, plump and heavy, with richly-coloured skin. Note, however, that the actual colour of the skin does not necessarily denote ripeness; green-skinned finger limes can be just as ripe and delicious as red-skinned ones (and are, in fact, a little sweeter and less acid than red-skinned ones).
  • Finger limes will keep fresh in the fridge for several weeks.
  • They also freeze extremely well. They will lose some condition on defrosting, but the "bubbles" should still be intact.
  • You can also dry the whole fruit. When fully dried, the rich tangy, zesty, almost sherbert-like flavour works brilliantly in both sweet and savoury dishes.
  • Dry over several months on well-aired trays or baskets, in a cool, dry, well-aired location. Check regularly for mould.
  • They also dry in a dehydrator; it may take up to 24 hours or more to completely dry.
  • Slice fruit for a quicker result.