Limes are one of those fruits like bananas that you can get all year long. This wide availability makes limes a great choice for cooking and baking. The tartness of limes goes well with both sweet and savory flavors. But choosing and storing limes is a bit counterintuitive. Keep reading to learn how to handle this popular citrus fruit, and check out a variety of recipes to try.
How to Choose a Ripe Lime
When selecting limes at the grocery store, look for light green or yellow ones, if you can find them. As limes ripen on the tree, they go from dark green to yellow. But because an entire tree is harvested at once, the limes will vary in ripeness. Avoid dark green limes; they are not ripe, and they don’t ripen any further once they’ve been picked.
Another clue to the ripeness of a lime is the texture of the peel. You’ll find that lighter-colored limes also have smoother peels. Finally, give your chosen limes a gentle squeeze. They should give a bit, similar to avocados.
Where to Store Limes
If you buy limes the same day you plan to use them, or if you’ll use them within the next day or two, leave them on the counter. But if you’d like to store them longer, put your limes in the refrigerator. On Food52, a citrus grower explains that once limes are harvested, they’re refrigerated for transport. Repeated temperature fluctuations aren’t good for fruit, so try not to move limes back and forth between the refrigerator and counter.
However, don’t try to juice limes straight from the refrigerator. Instead, take them out a day in advance and let them warm up a bit first. They’ll yield more juice, and they’ll taste better too. You can also freeze any leftover juice and store it for several months.
Sweet and Savory Lime Recipes
Are you ready to start juicing and zesting those limes you've carefully chosen and stored? A grater or zester, especially ones from Microplane, will come in handy. If you're juicing only a single lime or two, stick with a manual tool like the OXO Good Grips Citrus Squeezer, rather than getting out an electric juicer.
If you’ve never tried cherry limeade at Sonic, you’re in for a treat. Pour a two-liter bottle of lemon lime soda (pick your favorite brand, and it can be diet or regular) into a punch bowl. Then add a cup of fresh lime juice, a cup of sugar, and a jar of maraschino cherries, including the juice. Thinly slice a lime and add it to the bowl. While you can serve from a pitcher, a punch bowl makes it easier to evenly distribute cherries and lime slices.
Cilantro Lime Black Bean Rice
This recipe from Julia’s Album makes a perfect side dish for any Mexican feast. It’s not vegetarian because the rice is cooked in chicken broth, but you can use vegetable broth if you prefer. Be sure to add minced garlic and salt to the rice when you cook it. Then stir lime juice, black beans, and fresh chopped cilantro into the cooked rice. Taste the finished dish and add more salt or lime juice as needed.
Grilled Lime Garlic Shrimp
Lime pairs beautifully with shrimp. This recipe from Serious Eats is as simple as they come, but it looks delicious. First, zest and juice three limes. Then combine the zest and juice with minced garlic, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Marinate the shrimp for half an hour while you soak your wooden skewers. Skewer the shrimp, and grill or broil the skewers for a few minutes on each side. The recipe calls for fresh basil, but we’re inclined to chop fresh cilantro to sprinkle on top.
Garlic Lime Oven Baked Salmon
We love grilled salmon, but it’s just as delicious when baked, especially when you add some zip with lime juice, lime zest, minced garlic, and as much jalapeno as your palate can handle. This recipe from A Spicy Perspective comes together in a snap. Simply combine olive oil with the other ingredients we already mentioned, and drizzle the mixture over a filet of salmon on a baking tray. To make cleanup easy, use a piece of parchment paper under the salmon to catch drippings.
Lime Pie With Coconut Macadamia Crust
There are countless key lime pie recipes out there, and they are delicious, no doubt. But this recipe from Spicy Southern Kitchen grabbed our attention immediately. The crust includes the essential graham cracker crumbs, along with chopped macadamia nuts and shredded coconut. The rich, creamy filling gets its tangy flavor from lime zest and lime juice. The whipped cream on top gets an extra boost of coconut from cream of coconut. Look for it in the international section of your grocery store.