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Nancy in Pátzcuaro

Substituting lime juice for lemon juice

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I live in a small city in México, and because true lemons are almost unknown here I usually substitute lime juice for lemon in recipes. However, I wonder if there is a substantial difference in how they work, for example, when making fresh cheese. I'd like to make some fresh ricotta, and of course I don't have access to lemon juice. I suspect there's a difference in acidity between lemons and limes which could affect the outcome. There are fruits (limas) that look like lemons but are sweet with low acidity--they are eaten like oranges.

 

If anyone can help me figure this out, I would be very grateful.

 

We are driving to the US next month and I might try to bring in a small lemon tree, or if I can harvest a few seeds I could sprout them. I have plenty of limes from our tree, and last year I was scrambling to do as much as possible with them. Limoncello, preserved limes, Indian lime pickle, juice for the freezer--you name it, I tried it. And if you have suggestions for more ideas, please tell me.

 

Thanks, everyone.

 

Nancy in Patzcuaro

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Formerly "Nancy in CO"

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I found this :

 

http://cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/46423/are-limes-and-lime-juice-more-acidic-than-lemons-and-lemon-juice

 

perhaps this might help.

 

Id just go ahead and try making a small batch of ricotta and see.

 

I prefer the flavor of limes myself

 

if you do bring back a tree, ask about the root-stock.   some times trees are grafted to different root stock to optimize 

 

the growing characteristics.   consider looking for a Meyer lemon tree or two.

 

I grew up with Meyer lemons and love them

 

best of luck !

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I found this link informative.

 

http://www.nigella.com/kitchen-queries/view/Using-Limes-Instead-Of-Lemons/2659

 

This is what I suspected about the main difference: ie   sugar content for limes is a slightly higher (and since vitamin C is an acid, it's a little lower in acid too).

 

This lime is slightly lower in vitamin C and slightly higher in natural sugars than lemons, making it a little sweeter than lemons.

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Have a friend that lives in Mexico.  She managed to order a "limon verdad" from her local nursery.  I suppose that's so obvious that you've tried it already, but just in case...

 

I love Meyer lemons, and have always had a tree, and currently have a tree.  But they are milder than true lemons, so if I were going to go through the trouble of smuggling in a lemon tree, think I'd go for real lemons.


I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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I normally get lemons shared by my neighbor so I just planted an Improved Meyer and a Persian lime tree. Well, months ago as spring or fall are better for putting trees in the ground.

 

Small difference in acidity but huge difference in taste between lemons and limes. 

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radtek

 

Id like to suggest Im ..............

 

but Im not.  ( OK I am ) 

 

did you look into planting a "Key Lime "

 

the caribbean type ?

 

just asking 

 

:laugh:

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You might try using Buttermilk.. for your Ricotta.  I dont think i would use limes.

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Its good to have Morels

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Thanks for those great suggestions--I'll look into them all. And Jaymes, I deliberately avoided using the word "smuggle," in my request! But you're absolutely right--that's what I would have to do. It wouldn't be the first time I've snuck something across the border...

 

If I asked a local vivero to order a "limon verdad" I probably would get a lime, because "limon" is the word for "lime" and "lima" is the word for "lemon," at least here. Go figure. Our tree produces beautiful seedless limes in great quantities, so one tree is enough.

 

I've used buttermilk to make fresh cheese in the past, but buttermilk is also hard to come by here. I have buttermilk powder that might work. But I think I'll try a small batch of ricotta with lime juice just to see if it works the same as lemon. I think what the lemon juice does is to separate the curds from the whey rather than provide any flavoring, but I could be mistaken.

 

I'm off to experiment--I'll let you know how it works.

 

Thanks again, everyone.

 

Nancy in Pátzcuaro

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Formerly "Nancy in CO"

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See this recipe for ricotta made with lemons--some people tried lime juice with success.
http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2011/06/rich-homemade-ricotta/
See notes # 187 Akalei and #451 Debbie.

 

Have you considered rennet? Animal rennet will last in the fridge for 1 yr, vegetable rennet will last 6 mos. It can be purchased online from cheesemaking suppliers. I've made this recipe with rennet:
http://www.boston.com/lifestyle/food/articles/2009/06/24/recipe_for_homemade_ricotta/

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I spent about six weeks in Morelia a couple of years ago and the family I stayed with had a lemon tree. They were very proud of it. They told me that a nursery in Morelia had special-ordered it for them. So I think you might check around. I'm sure you get to Moralia at least occasionally. As I recall, it's a fairly easy drive from Patzcuaro.


I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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You might try using Buttermilk.. for your Ricotta.  I dont think i would use limes.

 

Rick Bayless has a very nice recipe using lime juice and buttermilk ... it's quite good.  I've just started playing around with making my own ricotta, and this is one of the recipes I'm going to play with some more:  http://www.rickbayless.com/recipe/lime-set-whole-milk-ricotta/

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 ... Shel


 

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For making ricotta where the lemons are there to curdle the milk, lemons and limes should be functionally equivalent. Lemons are around 6% acidity, almost entirely citric acid. Limes are also around 6% acidity, but they are about 2/3 citric acid and 1/3 malic acid. Since malic and citric acid have the same pH, from an acidity standpoint, they should both do the job equally well.

 

​From a flavor perspective, the taste of limes is quite different than that of lemons (due in part to the different acid balance), but if you are only using the juice functionally, the little bit you use might not have a large impact. It might even taste better, I would just make it and see how you like it.

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Thanks Nancy, for asking this question.  I have a lime tree and tend to use them for most recipes calling for lemons.  I had a hollandaise failure recently and thought it might have been due to lower acid in the limes but I think it was just operator error. 

And thanks Shel for pointing to the Bayless ricotta with lime.  I'd like to give it a try.

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I almost always use lime juice for hollandaise and béarnaise.  I prefer it.  I would substitute lime juice for lemon juice in a beverage (if my life depended on it) but not lemon juice for lime juice.

 

Besides, the organic lemons I just bought were three for $5.00 and limes are 10 for $1.99.  It is not always so.

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I recently bought some WF 365 organic lemon juice in a bottle - pure juice, pasturized but no preservatives. It doesn't need refrigeration (until opened) - and they also have a lime juice as well. The expiry date is really long for that type of product (in my opinion) - I saw some with more than a year left and I have no idea how long they have been there on the shelf. There are other bottled lemon products on the market I know but frankly, they taste horrible.

 

This is real lemon (lime) juice (there is even a bit of pulp) and it really tastes like fresh. The bottles are 10 fl. oz/296 mil. A bit pricey ($3.95 I think) - what does one expect for convenience, organic and from WF - but may be worth it if you can get hold of some to keep around if lemons are not easy to buy locally.

 

I have been adding it to plain cold water and I get a lovely sour lemonade with no off-taste. I didn't expect much but I was very impressed.

 

I have now bought some extra bottles to take back up north with me because I can't seem to get either decent lemons or limes near (within 50 miles of) where I live - and buying too many when I am in town shopping usually leads to them going bad (if I buy in quantity) before I use them up. I also prefer lime juice personally - but I do use lemon juice on occasion - and I think this bottled stuff may be a godsend for me living where I live.


Edited by Deryn (log)

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I recently bought some WF 365 organic lemon juice in a bottle - pure juice, pasturized but no preservatives.

[...]

This is real lemon (lime) juice (there is even a bit of pulp) and it really tastes like fresh. The bottles are 10 fl. oz/296 mil. A bit pricey ($3.95 I think) - what does one expect for convenience, organic and from WF - but may be worth it if you can get hold of some to keep around if lemons are not easy to buy locally.

 

 

I tried the lime juice some months ago and found it to be terrible ... nothing fresh-tasting about it.  Perhaps when used in certain ways it may be acceptable, but not when used on salads, fruit, vegetables as one would squeeze a fresh lime.

 

I recognize that people have different tastes, and this is just my experience ... FWIW


 ... Shel


 

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I haven't tasted the lime juice yet. I did like the lemon however - for a bottled juice. Perhaps the lime doesn't process or keep as well - haven't opened my first bottle as I just stocked up yesterday (and intended to take them back north before I used it). Oh well. I am sure I can find some use for it where that may not matter too much, but, I will be sorry if it is not good as I expected it to be. Thanks for your opinion.

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I've used other brands of bottled lemon and lime juice. They contained oils from the fruit in addition to juice, which made them taste more like lemon or lime than fresh-squeezed juices do. They're a bit more like juice plus zest. The flavor isn't quite as fresh or 3-dimensional as fresh squeezed (probably because it's from concentrate) but is stronger. I use it a lot in sauces, asian dishes, and to balance the seasoning on things like bitter greens. For something that features citrus, I'd prefer fresh, but there's nothing bad tasting about these.


Notes from the underbelly

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Hello, everyone--

 

It's a cold, drizzly day here, just right for being in the kitchen and cooking something. I decided to give the ricotta with lime juice a try, and want to report that it worked just as well as it would have with lemon juice. I don't detect any noticeable lime flavor.

 

The recipe I used is from a recent NY Times article--I made a half recipe, which amounts to about a cup of ricotta. The following has whole recipe quantities:

 

1 quart whole milk

1/2 c. heavy cream (I used evaporated milk--no cream in the house)

1/2 c. plain unsugared yogurt

1-1/2 tsp. lemon (lime) juice

1/2 tsp. salt

 

Whisk together and heat gently until the curds separate from the whey, pour it through 4 layers of cheesecloth, drain, scrape out and enjoy. I am saving the whey for breadmaking this weekend.

 

This will be permanently on my list of "things to do" from now on. Couldn't be easier.

 

Thanks again for all your good suggestions. I knew I could count of the eGulleteers for advice!

 

Nancy in Pátzcuaro

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Formerly "Nancy in CO"

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