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What Are Kaffir (Makrut) Lime Leaves & How Do You Use Them?

What are kaffir (makrut) lime leaves? How do you use these leaves from kaffir lime citrus fruit? Read on to find out the answers to these questions and more!

You may have come across kaffir or makrut lime leaves when looking up your favorite Thai recipe, but did you know that this shrub is grown in backyards around the world?

Even if you don't live in a tropical environment, you can keep your own kaffir lime tree in a container and move it indoors when the temperature drops.

Maybe you're asking, "But, what are kaffir lime leaves? What are kaffir lime leaves used for?"

Worry not! You've come to the right place. Here's everything you need to know about kaffir lime leaves and how to use them.

What Are Kaffir Lime Leaves?

Kaffir lime leaves are the leaves of the citrus hystrix, also known as the kaffir lime, Mauritius papeda, or makrut lime. This plant is a thorny bush that is native to tropical areas in southern China and Southeast Asia.

The citrus fruit, kaffir lime, is small and green with a rough texture. When it ripens, it turns yellow. Both the rind of the fruit and the leaves have a strong, pleasant aroma.

The leaves are distinctively shaped like an hourglass, like two leaves stuck together.

What Are Kaffir Lime Leaves Used For?

We've all been there.

You're so excited to make a new recipe when all of a sudden you come across the name of an ingredient you've never heard of before. Never fear! We're here to break down what you need to know about the uses of kaffir lime leaves.

Culinary Uses

You can find kaffir lime leaves in traditional recipes across Southeast Asia. A key ingredient in many Thai, Vietnamese, Indonesian, and Malaysian cuisines, the kaffir lime adds a strong aroma and flavor to dishes. The leaves can be used fresh, dried, or frozen.

Typically used in soups, stir-fries, stocks, and curries, you can use kaffir lime leaves to add its bright citrus flavor and aroma to countless dishes. It pairs well fish and shellfish, and it's a lovely addition to rice.

Kaffir lime leaves have become an increasingly popular ingredient in cocktails in trendy bars across the United States.

What are dried kaffir lime leaves used for, you ask? They can be used the same way as fresh leaves, but if you add whole kaffir lime leaves to a dish, you'll want to remove them before you eat.

What if a recipe calls for kaffir lime but you can't find any at the store? What are kaffir lime leaves substitutes? There isn't an exact substitute for the complex flavor of kaffir lime leaves, but your best bet would be to combine a bay leaf with both lemon and lime zest.

Aromatic Uses

Its beautiful scent makes it a great addition to potpourri sachets or to a relaxing bath. You can even just rub the leaves on your skin to use as a natural perfume. Another added plus, it's also believed to help keep pesky insects at bay.

Medicinal Uses

Beyond its wonderful taste and small, kaffir lime leaves also have a number of medicinal uses. Believed to freshen breath and promote gum health, it can be added to toothpaste and used to make a homemade mouthwash.

Kaffir lime leaves are also thought to reduce stress anxiety and produce a calm sensation in the body and mind.

Other medicinal uses for kaffir lime leaves are blood detoxification, improved skin and hair health, promoting healthy digestion, reducing inflammation, and boosting the immune system.

Let Kaffir Lime Leaves Add Citrusy Brightness to Your Life Today!

Now that we've answered the question of "What are kaffir lime leaves?", it's time to start incorporating them into your food, drinks, baths, and more! Check out our fresh kaffir (makrut) lime leaves for sale here!

Interested in delicious fresh boxes of citrus fruit varieties straight from our grove? Check out our new citrus fruit subscription plans today to start enjoying the ripest seasonal citrus varieties!

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