Culinary Key Limes

Some people believe that “key lime” simply refers to the limes that are used for making the pies, or limes that grow only in the Florida Keys. Actually, the key lime is a specific variety of lime. It is not exclusive to the Keys. It was brought there years ago and became naturalized.

The key lime (Citrus aurantifolia Swingle) is much smaller than regular “Persian” limes. The key lime ranges in size from a ping-pong ball to a golf ball.

The peel of a key lime is thin, smooth and greenish-yellow when ripe. Key limes have a very distinctive aroma, which makes them valuable for culinary use.

Nutrition Facts for juice of one lime (2-inches in diameter)

Limes, including the Key Lime, actually contain less vitamin C than lemons

  • Calories 10
  • Total Fat: 0.04g
  • Sodium: 0.38mg
  • Total Carbohydrate: 3.42g
  • Dietary Fiber: 0.15g
  • Protein: 0.17g
  • Vitamin: C: 18.6 percent
  • Calcium: 0.3 percent
  • Iron: 0.1 percent
  • Niacin: 0.2 percent
  • Vitamin E: 0.1 percent

Recipe: Key Lime Snow

  • 2 envelopes unflavored gelatin
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1-1/2 cups boiling water
  • 1/2 teasponn grated key lime peel
  • 1/2 cup key lime juice, fresh
  • 4 egg whites

Sprinkle unflavoured gelatin over cold water in a large bowl and let stand five minutes. Stir in sugar until blended. Add boiling water and stir until gelatin is completely dissolved, about three minutes. Add grated lime peel and lime juice. Chill until slightly thickened (about 15 minutes).

Beat egg whites until stiff. While beating, gradually add gelatin mixture until soft peeks form. Spoon into eight individual dessert cups or one large serving bowl. Chill for two hours. Garnish with a twisted lime peel, if desired.

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