Everything You Need to Know About Sweet Limes
Few things are as refreshing and tart as a perfectly ripe lime. Known for its pucker-inducing flavor, you might be surprised to learn that there's a type of lime with a more amenable taste. Known as sweet limes, the citrus can be easily mistaken for lemons because of their yellow color, but their sweetness makes them quite the opposite.
All About Sweet Limes
The citrus is from the genus Citrus limettioides. While experts cannot say where or how the sweet lime originated, it's thought to be a hybrid between a Mexican-type lime and a sweet lemon or sweet citron, according to Purdue University College of Agriculture. It is thought to be native to India, but central and northern India, northern Vietnam, Egypt, and other countries around the coasts of the Mediterranean, and tropical America, are the main areas of cultivation.
Like their tart lime cousins, sweet limes start off green but turn into a bright yellow that often has people confusing them for lemons. Yellow sweet limes are ripe for picking while green ones haven't reached their full sweetness yet and should stay on the vine.
Sweet Lime Uses
Sweet limes have a unique flavor because they have less acid than ordinary limes. In India, Vietnam, Egypt, and on the Mediterranean coast, they're grown as commercial crops. Because it's high in vitamin C and dietary fiber, sweet lime juice is used in areas of the world, like India, to soothe a number of ailments, including throat infections, nausea, and fevers.
Sweet limes can be eaten like any ripe fruit. They can also be sliced and added to water instead of lemon, or added to a citrus salad for some extra flavor—sweet limes are a versatile fruit that can be substituted in instances that would normally call for a lime. Try them in our Limeade recipe, for an extra dose of sweetness.