Thursday, October 9, 2008

LIMEYS LOVE LIMES

Limeys love limes and have done ever since the 18th Century when they discovered that lime juice added to the sailors' diet would prevent scurvy. Each sailor was given an allowance of one lime every day. However, they didn't know exactly why until 1923 with the discovery of vitamin C.
So it stands to reason that having grown up in England, ( I don't really like being called a limey as I didn't sail over here) I would just have to have a lime tree in my garden. In fact, I have two. The tree from which the limes shown in this photograph came is a Persian lime. This plant was labeled a Persian lime because it was grown in Florida. The same tree is called a Bearss lime in California. It is the lime with which most people are familiar as the source of the large green limes you find in the grocery store. I also have a Mexican lime tree which bears the small yellow/green limes which are normally sold in bags. 
My limes are in pots because I know they wouldn't be hardy in the ground where we live, although down in the city I am sure they would be OK in the ground. So, I bring the pots inside for the winter. They do just fine and come spring when they begin to flower they perfume the house with a wonderful fragrance.
This year my Persian lime produced 21 limes and the tree is barely 2' tall. I may have been unwise to let it bear so many and hope it hasn't exhausted itself for next year. The Mexican lime is a constant producer and I don't pick them. I just wait until they fall off the tree by which time they have turned yellow.
With such a big crop at one time I juice the Persian limes and freeze it in ice cube trays for use during the winter in margaritas. Then there's key lime pie, salad dressing,  a sprinkle over vegetables and fish and ceviche. Could not do without my lime trees.

9 comments:

  1. Wow, 20 limes on a wee tree.

    Your garden does sound lovely.

    And will you be putting any tequila with those lovely fruits?

    Jannie

    Found you by Googling Austin Blogspot. (I'm here in Austin too!)

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  2. So far my standard answer to all of limes and lemons that have been ripening has been to mix them with vodka and tonic. But now my Meyer Lemon tree is full of yellowing lemons, and I haven't the slightest idea what to do with all of them. Maybe I should be trolling the internet for Meyer Lemon margarita recipes? ;D

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  3. I make lemon curd, lemon loaf or just freeze the zest and juice for the future. I don't usually get to pick any of my Meyer lemons until December. This last year they lasted well into spring. One of my trees failed to set any fruit this year because I got it out of the house too early and we had a frost when it was in full bloom. I won't be doing that next year.

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  4. Oooh, lemon curd! I've never tried it, but a quick google search reveals that Alton Brown has a recipe, and everything I've tried from him has been great. :)

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  5. What a harvest, Jenny! I only get a few Meyer lemons from each small tree (one in pot, one in ground) and like them - but limes sound pretty good, too. The only good window is in the breakfast room...getting pretty crowded in there.

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

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  6. Jenny, to be so productive, your citrus trees must be very happy. What's your secret? A meyer's lemon and a mexican lime are on my list of fruit bearing trees to try in my garden.

    Lori, if you like vinagrette, Meyer lemons are great for dressings. Just mix with a little honey or agave, salt, chopped fresh basil, crushed garlic, dijon mustard and olive oil.

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  7. I just got a kaffir lime at the MG plant swap. I know nothing about it, but will bring it in with cold weather. Hope I can get some use out of it, leaves and limes.

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  8. Jannie- we certainly will.
    Renee- Not as happy as they should be this year. I will only harvest a few Meyer lemons but they are oh so good and hard to find in the grocery store because of their thin skins. If oyu live in the city you can probably put them in the ground. Look out for the trees in the spring. HD always has them.
    Bonnie- I would love a Kaffir but haven't come across one. I don't think I have ever seen the limes for sale but the leaves are used in Thai and Indonesian cookery. I usually just throw in some zest. The real thing would be nice to have.

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  9. ooooh - Lancashire Rose - I love your idea of freezing lime juice in ice cube trays. We have 50+ lemons coming all at almost once, and I've been wondering what in the world I am going to do with them besides share them with friends and family! Thanks for the tip!

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