Silly Food Fact
Does a lime a day keep the doctor away? Back in the 1800s, British sailors were required to eat citrus fruit to prevent scurvy—a serious disease causing tiredness, muscle aches, rashes, and bleeding gums. Limes were cheaper and more readily available than lemons, and a British sailor soon was nicknamed a “limey.”
Why Our Bodies Love It
Vitamin C was the secret to combating scurvy, and limes are a good source of this immune-strengthening vitamin. One lime contains about 20 calories and 32% of RDA for vitamin C. Limes contain no fat and no cholesterol, and they are a good source of fiber and phytochemicals, which may help fight cancer and other diseases. If you are on a salt-free diet, lime juice can be a tangy alternative seasoning.
Care and Picking
There are two types of limes: Persian Limes (year-round in stores) and Key Limes (seasonal and traditionally from the Florida Keys). Persian limes are dominant because they are easier to grow and ship. Key limes are smaller with a stronger flavor and thinner rind, and they grow on thorny trees. If you love Key Lime pie, only the authentic Florida limes are acceptable! To grow your own limes, a dwarf citrus tree might be perfect: they don’t take much space and can be moved inside in the winter if you live in a cooler climate.
Tips and Warnings
Limes are delicious in sorbets, beverages, marinades, and jams. Choose heavy limes with smooth, shiny skin. Avoid any that have soft spots or look shriveled. Refrigerated, limes can last several weeks, but the flavor will diminish over time. Lime juice, as well as grated lime zest, can be frozen for later use. Ice cube trays work great to freeze juice—simply pop out a juice cube to enhance the flavor of everything from fish to tea.