ABC SUPERFOODS: L is for Lemons and Limes

Lemons & Limes

Did you know that lemons and limes were eagerly sought after during the nineteenth century? The health benefits of these fruits was well-known and people went to great lengths to obtain them. Have you ever heard the British Navy referred to as “limeys”? This nickname was acquired due to their great dependence upon limes.

The juice and pulp contained in a lemon or lime are great sources of vitamin C. Scurvey is a vitamin C deficiency that many sailors were plagued with in centuries past, so they desperately attempted to acquire these citrus fruits. 75% of the daily value (DV) of vitamin C is contained in one large lemon! One lime contains about 33% of the DV. These fruits are also instrumental in preventing cancer- especially breast cancer. If you are concerned about getting a food-borne illness, lemons and limes can help to avoid it, as researchers believe these fruits inhibit the growth of bacteria. These colorful fruits can also prevent Type 1 Diabetes, cholera, and arthritis.

So while it may be too tart to eat a lemon or lime like an apple, they are powerful in bringing out the flavors of other foods and are excellent for your health.

At the Market
-Lemons that seem heavy for their size are likely to have thinner skins and thus be more juicy.
-Find lemons that are fully yellow, as those that are slightly green will be more acidic and not fully ripened.
-Avoid wrinkly, dull colored fruit with soft or hard patches.
-Look for deep green and glossy skinned limes.
-Try to avoid limes that are brownish as it may give the lime a moldy taste.

In the Kitchen
-If you happen to squeeze or zest a large amount of lemons or limes, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly afterward and apply sunscreen before being exposed to sunlight. Apparently there is evidence that these fruits contain a compound that makes one especially susceptible to burn in the sun.
-Don’t throw away the peels! Use them to add zest to various recipes, as it is actually the best part of the fruit for you.
-Store lemons at room temperature for about a week, but if you don’t use them right away, keep them in the refrigerator crisper for up to four weeks.
-Keep limes out of sunlight and store for about a week at room temperature or loosely wrapped in a plastic bag and kept in the refrigerator crisper for about 10-14 days.
-Juice lemons and limes at room temperature.
-Do not zest too much, as the white pith underneath the skin is bitter and should be avoided.
-Use lemon or lime juice in combination with olive oil for salad dressing.


Key Lime Pie
Graham cracker crust

1½ cups ground graham crackers
⅓ cup granulated sugar
6 tbsp butter, melted

Key Lime Filling

2 14 oz cans sweetened condensed milk
½ cup light sour cream
¾ cup lime juice OR key lime juice
zest from 2 regular limes or 4 key limes

Whipped Cream Topping

1 cup heavy whipping cream
½ cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract


Graham cracker crust

Preheat oven to 375F.
Mix graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and butter in a small bowl. Press the crumb mixture into an 8″ – 9.5″ pie pan. Bake for 7 minutes. Cool for at least 30 minutes.

Key Lime Filling

Preheat oven to 350F
Whisk together sweetened condensed milk, sour cream, lime juice, and lime zest in a medium bowl. Pour into prepared graham cracker crust and bake for 10 minutes.
Let pie cool slightly before chilling. Chill for at least 3 hours.

Whipped Cream Topping

Beat heavy cream and sugar together in a mixer until stiff peaks form. Beat in vanilla. Spread or pipe the whipped cream on top of the cooled pie. Top with additional lime zest if desired.

(Recipe taken from Mom on Timeout)


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