The key lime (also known as “Mexican lime” and “West Indies lime”) has been prized for its fruit and ornamental foliage for thousands of years in the Indo-Malayan region. Its unusual flavor makes it much sought after, especially for exquisite sweets, despite being smaller and having more seeds than the more popular Persian lime. The juice of the key lime is most commonly utilized, and it is a signature element in essential lime-based sweets, marinades, and drinks. Everyone has heard of Key lime pie, but few people are familiar with the citrus fruit that inspired it (outside of the folks in the Florida Keys).
They usually have a diameter of one to two inches. They are taken when they are green, but as they develop, they turn yellow. Key limes have a slightly higher acidity in flavor than “normal limes,” making them slightly more tart. As a result, they’re great with sweeter components, as evidenced by the famous Key lime pie. Key limes are available all year in Mexico but only from June through September in the United States (mainly in Florida and California).
What are Key Limes?
Key lime is a spherical citrus hybrid fruit measuring 1 to 2 inches. When plucked, it is green, but when ripe, it becomes yellow. For its size, a ripe key lime feels weighty. It is smaller and has more seeds to remove than a Persian lime, more acidity, a sharper citrus fragrance, and a thinner rind. The key lime is prized for its distinct flavor and comes at a higher price. A key lime, sometimes known as Mexican or West Indian lime, is a hybrid citrus fruit native to the Florida Keys. They usually have a diameter of one to two inches.
They are selected when green, but they begin to turn yellow as they ripen. In terms of flavor, key limes have a higher acidity than “normal limes,” making them a little more tart. This makes them perfect for mixing with sweeter components, so Key lime pie is famous. Key limes are available all year in Mexico but only from June through September in the United States (primarily in Florida and California).
Key Lime Pie Fudge Recipe
- 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs, from about ten rectangles
- 20 ounces white chocolate, chopped, about 3 1/2 cups
- 1 (14-ounce) can be sweetened condensed milk
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Two tablespoons of finely grated lime zest
- Three tablespoons of freshly squeezed lime juice
Steps to Make it
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit / 190 degrees Celsius. Lining a 9 x 9-inch pan with aluminum foil and coating it with nonstick cooking spray is excellent.
- Microwave the butter in a medium microwave-safe bowl until it has completely melted. Once the butter has melted, add the sugar and graham cracker crumbs and stir until everything is moistened and the consistency of wet sand.
- Place the crumbs in the prepared pan’s bottom and flatten them into a uniform layer. Bake for 5 minutes or until the bottom crust is aromatic and lightly browned along the edges. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool while you finish the remaining fudge.
- In a large microwave-safe bowl, combine the chopped white chocolate, sweetened condensed milk, salt, and microwave in 30-second increments, stirring after every 30 seconds. Microwave until the white chocolate has melted completely and the mixture is smooth.
- Stir the lime juice and zest into the white chocolate to fully integrate them.
- Scrape the fudge into the prepared pan and smooth it over the graham cracker crust in an equal layer. Refrigerate the fudge for 2 to 3 hours or overnight until it is set.
- Please remove it from the pan using the foil as handles once set. Cut it into 1-inch squares with a broad, sharp knife. To get cleaner cuts, periodically rinse the knife in hot water.
- Refrigerate the Key lime pie fudge for up to two weeks in an airtight container. Allow it to sit at room temperature for 20 minutes before serving for the most incredible flavor and texture.
How to Use Key Limes?
Make sure the skin of a ripe key lime has turned yellow and is free of blemishes. It can be used to make juice or zest. There is no need to prepare anything; use a clean fruit. Some claim that rolling it before juicing will produce more juice, and this is an urban legend that has been debunked. Wash and dry the skin before using a zester to remove the zest. Before juicing, wash and rinse the fruit and cut it in half.
Because of its delicious aroma and distinct flavor, fresh key lime juice is chosen for seasoning marinades, preparing limeade, and garnishing drinks and plates. Syrups and, of course, key lime pie are made with the juice. The frozen concentrate of the Persian lime, not the key lime, is used in most commercially available key lime pies. If you’ve never tried authentic key lime pie, you should try it.
Now that you’ve got your Key limes, I recommend using them where they shine: in dessert! Although key lime pie is an obvious (and delicious) option, you might also want to try any of these other Key lime desserts: Key Lime Cheesecake I, Key Lime Cake II, and White Chocolate Key Lime Endeavor with Macadamia Crunch Key lime juice gives the proper amount of brightness to these savory dishes: Margarita Shrimp Fajitas, Key West-style Baked Grouper, and Tropical Mango and Pineapple Paradise Salsa.
Where do you Find Key Limes?
Fresh vital limes are challenging to come by in most supermarkets. They only grow in particular places in the United States and are only available briefly in Florida and California from June to September. They also don’t last very long. Key limes are grown all year in Mexico, but they might be challenging to convey to the United States because they are delicate.
They’re one of those fruits that don’t ripen after being picked, so seek ones that are yellowish-green in color, weighty and firm but not hard, and have smooth, unbroken skin when buying them. Bottled vital lime juice is often offered online and can be found in specialty markets near the canned fruit section near the bottled lemon juice. Because crucial limes can be twice as expensive as Persian limes, buying them bottled can save money. Depending on the shop, they may be offered loose or prepackaged in bags according to weight (e.g., one pound bag).
Key limes have a short growing season due to their tropical or subtropical climate. Growing essential lime trees inside is one way to get around this. They can be cultivated in containers, and fruit can be produced by trees as tiny as two feet tall. Critical lime trees may survive outdoors in more tropical climes, or potted plants may be placed outside during the warmer months.
Do Key Limes Taste Like Limes?
According to legend, key limes have a sweeter flavor than regular limes, and they’re on the sweeter end of the bittersweet spectrum. Limes have less acidity and a more potent fragrance despite their sweeter flavor. The juice of crucial lime is slightly more acidic and bitter than that of Persian or regular lime, though some people find it highly bitter and acidic.
As a result, key lime juice is frequently utilized in lovely sweets. The key lime’s tartness contrasts nicely with the sugar’s sweetness. Compared to regular lime, key lime will likely deliver a more flavorful experience, and it will also have a less tart flavor and is more flowery than regular limes. It’s reasonable to say that a key lime is well worth your time when employing lime in everyday life.
Where does Key Lime Grow?
Florida, California, and Mexico are the primary producers of crucial lime trees. They’re grown in the world’s warm tropical and subtropical locations. It is commonly known that the major producing countries are:
- Egypt and several Western countries
The key lime to Spain and Portugal by Arabs who crossed North Africa. In the early 16th century, Spanish and Portuguese explorers carried it to the Americas (Ziegler and Wolfe u7). Key lime has spread over the Caribbean, Mexico’s east coast, Central America, South America’s tropical regions, and the Florida Keys.
In 1883, commercial output was visible in Orange and Lake counties in Florida. Small commercial plantations were established in the Florida Keys (1913–1926) and Miami-Dade County (1970 to early 2000). Although Key Lime is no longer grown commercially in Florida, it is still a famous fruit tree in the home landscape.
The key lime stands out for reasons other than its size. It has a brighter, yellowish-green rind that is slightly thinner and more delicate than the more significant Persian type. Key limes are more acidic, have more seeds, and have a more pungent scent than larger limes. Key limes are renowned for their culinary contributions, particularly the key lime pie, which bears their name. Key limes are grown on a thorny, bushy tree that grows to be around 12 to 16 feet tall when fully mature (4 to 5 m). There are more minor tree variants that can be grown in containers. The branches and trunk of the essential lime tree take on a shrubby appearance, with branches developing not only at the tree’s top but also quite far down the trunk. The essential lime blossoms are yellow-white with mild purple accents on the borders, and the leaves are oval and light green.