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From Kaffir to Persian: Different Lime Varieties and How to Use Them

Lime Varieties

Not all limes are created equal. From Persian to Kaffir, there are actually quite a few lime varieties that serve different purposes. Learn about them below!

Different lime varieties have different flavors and uses suited to them.

Do you know the different kinds of limes and what they're used for?

Before you squeeze that lime into your homemade guacamole, make sure you have the right variety to make it pop!

Keep reading to learn about the different types of lime.

Lime Varieties

There are over 20 different varieties of lime, but you'll encounter the following types most frequently.

1. Kaffir Limes

You'll know a Kaffir lime by its lumpy exterior!

This lime variety has a milder juice but unfortunately contains very little of it. Because of this, you'll mainly find Kaffir limes used for their skin and leaves.

Many Asian cuisines use Kaffir lime leaves in rice or soup dishes, where the leaves infuse their flavor and are removed prior to consumption.

2. Mexican or Key Limes

Mexican limes, more commonly known as Key limes, are so good they have a whole dessert named after them!

Smaller, with a smooth skin that's pale green to yellow, the key lime is more acidic than others.

The trees have thorns and tight foliage, making commercial growing more difficult than other types.

This lime, however, has a very distinct tart juice, which is used in cooking and baking, including the famous Key Lime Pie.

3. Persian or Tahitian Limes

The Persian lime, also called a Tahitian, is the most commonly found lime in grocery stores.

This variety is one of the largest, with a super juicy inside. The flavor is milder than a key lime, not as distinct or tart, making them a good flavor additive.

Because they contain the most juice, this lime is perfect for most applications that call for lime juice.

Its thicker skin makes it perfect for packing and shipping, but not necessarily the best for zesting.

4. Australian Desert Limes

These limes are small and round, and one of the varieties tolerant to drought and frost.

The fruit is just slightly larger than a marble and is prized as "bush food" in Australia.

This lime variety is most often made into sauces, marmalades, glazes, and chutneys instead of being juiced or zested due to their small size.

5. Australian Finger Limes

Australian finger limes are an interesting lime variety and are also known as the "caviar" of limes due to their interesting texture that resembles fish eggs. The lime has a lemon-lime flavor.

You'll find the Australian finger lime mostly as a garnish to seafood and desserts, and as a perfect finisher to cocktails.

What Type of Lime Do You Need?

While there are many lime varieties, it doesn't need to be confusing.

Many recipes will specify the exact variety you need, but if it doesn't and you're wondering what type you need to pick up at the grocery store, check out this handy guide. 

  • If your recipe calls for juice, Persian or Key limes are your best bet
  • Making a sauce that needs a little zing? Try an Australian desert lime
  • Looking for a garnish to make a dish next level? Throw an Australian Finger lime into the mix
  • Needing some zest? A Kaffir or Key lime will give you that perfect zing

What Kind of Lime Will You Choose?

Now that you know about the different lime varieties, what kind will you choose next time you visit the grocery store?

And it doesn't stop there — there's a whole wide world of citrus fruit varieties!

Want to learn more about them? 

Visit our blog for more information on your favorite citrus trees and fruit!

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