Lime is a term referring to a number of different fruits, both species and hybrids and generally citruses, which have their origin in the Himalayan region of India and which are typically round, green to yellow in colour, 3–6 cm in diameter, and generally containing sour and acidic pulp. They are frequently associated with the lemon. Limes are often used to accent the flavours of foods and beverages. They are usually smaller than lemons, and a good source of vitamin C. Limes are grown all year round and are usually sweeter than lemons.
Limes are a small citrus fruit, Citrus aurantifolia, whose skin and flesh are green in colour and which have an oval or round shape with a diameter between one to two inches. Limes can either be sour or sweet, with the latter not readily available in the United States. Sour limes possess a greater sugar and citric acid content than lemons and feature an acidic and tart taste, while sweet limes lack citric acid content and are sweet in flavour.
In cooking, lime is valued both for the acidity of its juice and the floral aroma of its zest. It is a very common ingredient in authentic Mexican, Southwestern United States and Thai dishes. It is also used for its pickling properties in ceviche. Additionally, the leaves of lime are used in southeast Asian cuisine. The use of dried limes (called black lime or loomi) as a flavouring is typical of Persian cuisine and Iraqi cuisine, as well as in Gulf-style baharat (a spice mixture that is also called kabsa or kebsa). Limes are also an essential element in Tamil cuisine.
Lime leaves are also a herb in South, East, and particularly Southeast Asia. In Vietnam, people have boiled chicken with lime leaves and a mixture of salt, black pepper and lime juice.
Another one of the underrated flavors, lime gives a sweet shot of flavor in a lot of things without the tang of a lemon. It goes well in a lot of things, and can be an unexpectedly pleasant ingredient in a lot of foods in which you wouldn't otherwise expect to see a fruit. Actual lime is beneficial for health, so if you add lime, be sure it isn't an imitation.