Limes, the green-skinned, less-acidic cousin of lemons, are a year-round grocery staple. Bright-green Persian limes are the most widely-sold variety, and their tart, lively flavor is a summertime favorite. This isn’t surprising, considering lime is an essential ingredient in the warm-weather cuisines of Southeast Asia, Latin America and the Pacific Islands. Just like lemons, this popular fruit can be used many different ways. Lime juice and peel add refreshing tartness to a variety of dishes, sweet and savory. Like salt, lime juice can also enhance the flavors of other foods.
Select firm, plump limes that are heavy for their size.
Lime peels should be brightly-colored, smooth and glossy. Small brown patches on the skin do not affect quality.
Refrigerate limes in a plastic food storage bag for up to two weeks.
Wrap cut limes tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to three days.
Scrub limes thoroughly in warm, soapy water to remove surface wax and traces of insecticides. This is especially important if the peel will be used.
To remove the peel, use a box-shaped grater, a special citrus-zesting tool or a vegetable peeler. Make sure not to remove the bitter white pith underneath the peel.
To extract the most juice: Bring limes to room temperature or warm them in a microwave on HIGH for 15 seconds. Roll the limes firmly on a counter to break up the juice sacs, then cut limes crosswise into halves and use a reamer or juicer to extract the juice.