A Guide to Mexican Key Limes: What Makes Them Different?

What makes the Mexican key lime different from other lime varieties? Find out all about the popular Mexican key lime tree and its thornless variants here.

Ever wondered why the limes the local bartender uses seem to be just the right level of tart while the ones you have at home fall flat?

Well, you weren't imagining it! Bars and restaurants have been using Mexican key limes for years to create perfect cocktails and delicious meals. 

So, what's so special about the Mexican key lime? Read below to find out!

Mexican Key Lime

The Mexican key lime, originating in Mexico, is smaller than your average grocery store lime. Much like the key limes found in the Florida keys, Mexican key limes have less juice. However, Mexican key lime juice can be more bitter than traditional limes or Florida limes.

There is a thornless variety of this plant that tends to grow more upright than the thorned variety. The fruit they bear is the same, however, the thornless Mexican key lime tree tends to grow in spurts rather than consistently over time.

Growing Mexican Key Limes

As you may have guessed based on their country of origin, Mexican key lime trees need plenty of warmth and sunlight. Areas that get harsh winters or frost can be challenging for the Mexican key lime tree.

The tree needs to be watered once a week and provided proper fertilizer and nutrition. Good drainage is also very important for the success of the plant. If you are concerned about the drainage, you can put the plant in a raised bed to support draining.

Mexican Key Limes can grow indoors or outdoors under the right conditions. If you are interested in purchasing a Mexican key lime plant, do your research on what to expect and all the proper planting, watering, and care instructions.

Uses for Mexican Key Limes

When most people think of key limes, they think of key lime pie. Yum! This is certainly the most traditional use of the fruit, but there are plenty of other recipes and uses for this lovely green fruit.

Key limes can add a tart twist to a cocktail, or even a glass of ice water. You can use the zest for baking or cooking too!

Because of their fresh lime scent, the leaves of a Mexican key lime plant are used for candles, soaps, and potpourri. If you crush up one of the leaves, you will instantly get the fresh scent of lime.

Typically you can use key limes as a substitute for traditional limes but the taste may be a bit more bitter and it will require more limes for the same amount of lime juice.

Simply Sublime

Mexican key limes offer the tart, bitter taste of lime, perfect for a drink or some refreshing key lime pie.

Interested in learning more about limes and other citrus plants and fruit? Check out some of our other blogs!

Try our seasonal citrus box while its available...the Craft Citrus Club!

Our Rio box is a 15-lb curated box of our fresh-harvested citrus from South Texas. The fruit is NOT gassed, rather it is tree-ripened. Our season runs from Nov-May for  oranges, grapefruit and mandarins.

Our Grande box is a 30-lb box of either fresh-harvested Rio Red Grapefruit or Sweet Oranges from South Texas.

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