Sweet limes are small in size, averaging 5-7 centimeters in diameter, and are round to oblate in shape. The rind is thin, easy-to-peel, smooth, covered in visible oil glands, and depending on the climate, may remain green when ripe or mature to a golden-yellow. Underneath the rind, the flesh is soft, yellow-green, divided into ten segments by thin, white membranes, and contains a few, inedible, cream-colored seeds. Sweet limes are aromatic, juicy, and have low acidity creating a palatable, mild, and sweet flavor with subtle honey notes.
Sweet limes are available in the late fall through winter.
Sweet limes, botanically classified as Citrus limettiodes, are small citrus fruits that belong to the Rutaceae family. Also known as Lima dulce, Persian Sweet lime, Indian Sweet lime, and Palestinian Sweet lime, Sweet limes are thought to be a hybrid of a Mexican lime and a sweet lemon or citron. Sweet limes should not be confused with Citrus limetta, the sweet lemon, which is also sometimes called sweet lime and is also yellow in color. Popular in Middle Eastern, Latin American, and Indian cooking, Sweet limes are predominately used for their juice and are utilized as a sweet flavoring agent. Common varieties of Sweet lime include Indian, Columbian, and Soh Synteng.
Sweet limes contain several antioxidants including vitamin C. They are also a good source of dietary fiber, iron, and their rind is an excellent source of vitamin B.
Sweet limes are best suited for both raw and cooked applications and are showcased when used fresh, out-of-hand. They can be sliced and served as a garnish alongside main dishes, desserts, and appetizers, or they can be consumed raw as a snack. The limes can be juiced for use in dressings, marinades, and sauces, or mixed into flavored water, cocktails, limeade, and fruit juices. They can also be sliced and tossed into fruit salads, pasta, chopped for salsa, and preserved for pickling, chutneys, and marmalades. Sweet limes pair well with pomegranate, apples, banana, kiwi, pineapple, orange, beets, ginger, bell peppers, lettuce, cucumbers, bean sprouts, tortilla, pasta, rice, and meats such as poultry, beef, pork, and fish. The limes will keep up to two weeks when stored at room temperature and up to one month when stored in the refrigerator.
Sweet limes are valued for not only their sweet flavor but for their rich amounts of vitamin C. In India, Sweet limes are used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine to reduce fevers and upset stomachs as they are believed to contain cooling properties. They are also used to reduce symptoms associated with throat infections. In the Middle East and