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Nancy in Pátzcuaro

What do I do with so many limes?

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I have this problem every year--our little lime tree produces a couple hundred large seedless limes, and each year I struggle to preserve them. I've frozen a lot of juice and zest, made limoncello (in México limon is lime, lima is lemon--go figure), Indian lime pickle, candied lime slices. I'm thinking seriously of making lime jelly, as potentially disgusting as that sounds.

 

So if anyone has an idea for something I haven't already done or thought of, please feel free to enlighten me.

 

We've already given away 50 or 60, and now they're starting to drop off the tree, so the need is urgent. I'd really like a new idea.

 

I realize most people don't have this kind of problem, and one of these days I'll be asking you about how to use avocados from our tree. At this point these limes are a lot like zucchini--

 

Thanks for your help--

 

Nancy in Pátzcuaro


Formerly "Nancy in CO"

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Can you slice them and dry the slices, or even dry the limes whole?  There are Middle Eastern (primarily toward the Iraq/Iran region of the Middle East, IIRC) recipes that call for preserved limes.  If this sounds appealing I'll look through my cookbooks for more ideas. 


Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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Can you slice them and dry the slices, or even dry the limes whole?  There are Middle Eastern (primarily toward the Iraq/Iran region of the Middle East, IIRC) recipes that call for preserved limes.  If this sounds appealing I'll look through my cookbooks for more ideas. 

 

As eG's token Iraqi, I should note that the dried limes used in Iraqi, Persian, and Persian Gulf Arab cooking are definitely dried whole, and more to the point, they are closer to key limes, if not exactly the same, as opposed to the type described in the OP. I presume they also require a marked lack of humidity, so that might be an issue too (Google says that Patzcuaro is currently experiencing 91% humidity!)

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I do. I have a Mexican lime tree, a Meyer's lemon tree, a wild Thai makrut lime tree, and two calamansi trees.

The wild Thai lime doesn't produce a lot of limes, but all the rest are very generous with their bounty.

I freeze them whole.

Sometimes I use the frozen small fruit (limes and calamansi) like beautiful and flavorful ice cubes for assorted drinks - iced tea, lemonade, wine spritzers, all sorts of things.

The juice keeps just fine within the whole frozen fruit so when I need some lime or lemon or calamansi juice, I just take out however many I need, and proceed as usual. I find that freezing them does help to break down the membranes so such tricks as rolling them, or putting them into the microwave, etc, are not necessary.

I used to make a lot of limoncello and found that freezing the denuded lemons that I had after zesting them also worked great.

So that's my advice.

Although I see nothing wrong with making lime curd. Just like lemon curd but, um, you know, limier.

Oh, and ps. Avocados. When we lived in Panama we had five avocado trees in our yard.

Avocados are a whole lot trickier.

We gave those away by the barrelful.


Edited by Jaymes (log)
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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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Last year, I made a few bottles of lime cordial to use up the last of my limes.  It's not something I used before, but I've found it very handy to have on hand.

I want to make some lime marmalade this year.  I want to make one batch from the green limes and another after they ripen fully and turn yellow so I can compare them.  I was planning to use the recipe for fine shred lime marmalade from "Saving the Season."  

I also make salt preserved limes.  I follow a recipe for preserved lemons and use them the same way.  I usually do this with the limes that have turned yellow, haven't tried it with the younger green ones.

And of course, popsicles!  

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Oh my...I just re-read Nancy's post and realized she already mentioned lime pickles.  Don't know how to delete my post..  Sorry. 

 

 

 

I had a similar lime overload problem when we lived at Lake Chapala, MX.

 

We love Indian food, so I made preserved limes.  AKA lime pickles.  

 

I experimented with various recipes I found googling.  They are mostly preserved with a lot of salt and seasoned with dried chilies (I used arbols) and basic Indian spices.  I also added a little vegetable oil as I liked the finish it gave them.  

 

When you google, include searches for preserved lemons and pickled lemons as those recipes are more common; just substitute limes when you make them. 

 

Buen provecho!


Edited by gulfporter (log)

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Gosh, thank you all for the ideas. I am especially taken with the idea of freezing whole limes. Who'd have thunk it? I've already made a new batch of limoncello this year, though I still have preserved limes from last year--it's not something you use a lot of, though I have to remember them because they are quite useful in small amounts. And I'm definitely going to make lime marmelade. I do a lot of jam--fig, blackberry, tomato, mango--so it's not an unfamiliar process. And lime curd--yum. Unfortunately I don't have access to quinces, though I don't know why they don't grow around here. There are other parts of México where they grow in abundance.

 

I am still open to more ideas, though. You can never have enough new ideas, I think.

 

Thanks, all--

 

Nancy in Pátzcuaro


Formerly "Nancy in CO"

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I joined a group on FaceBook that is basically a bunch of backyard gardeners who gather once or twice a month and trade things. It's pretty casual, just bring some things and take some things, nobody tries to make exact trades or do cash valuations. So, at one meeting we might eat tons of figs, swap rooted cuttings, and all take home a loaf of bread and some eggplant. At another, we might get salsa, crabapples, pecans and cherry tomatoes. Anyway, you might look into options for trading your limes at a farmer's market or something.

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You might try your hand at whole dried limes - here in the desert I have no problem drying them outside in a large wire colander in the summer.  In the winter I have used the dehydrator.  I boil them in brine - heavily salted water - for 5 minutes, allow them to cool, they turn kind of gray-green, dry them well with a tea towel or paper towels and put them in a wire colander covered with a round cake cooling rack and set them out on a plant stand that gets sun all day.  It has to be covered because otherwise the birds will get at them.  I bring them in at night, dust them off occasionally if we have high winds and there is dust blowing. 

In the dehydrator it takes about 6 days at 120° F. for them to dry completely.  They feel hard and very light.  I store them in a mesh bag, hanging in the pantry so air can circulate around them. 

I pound them in a mortar to break them up and then grind in a spice grinder and sift through a sieve to get rid of some of the bigger chunks that don't want to grind.

 

I use them to make baharat - a spice mixture that I include in some rubs - especially for goat meat.

Also in a stew. 

 

Here are some links one with suggestions of how to.

 

This one with some ideas of how to use in middle eastern recipes.

And this one with more suggestions of use.


"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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I just noticed this morning that my dwarf lime tree has about 15 full sized limes that are ripe and ready to go.  They're adding so much weight, the tree wants to tip out of its pot!  They'll stay ripe on the tree for a long time, but I've got even more that will be ripe in a few weeks, and flowers blooming for  even more...

 

I usually do a fruit or cucumber based som tum once a week, so that will use 1 lime, but any more ideas for how to use the rest?  Unfortunately, I can't really drink too  much alcohol right now, so mohitos, et al, are out, and I am also trying to avoid having too much sugar, so limeade is out too!  What's challenge without constraints!

 

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Edited by KennethT spelling (log)
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If you don't come up with something else you can always freeze the zest and juice, separately, in small aliquots. 

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There is a thread from last fall with some ideas,  What do I do with so many limes? although many include some sugar, others like salt preserved limes might fit your request.

I have a ton of them on my tree and could use some more ideas, too.  Does anyone have a good recipe for lime pickle?

 


Edited by blue_dolphin (log)

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OK, as I was sitting around, I had some other ideas:

 

Chili/salt/lime juice paste/dip used with vietnamese seafood and grilled dishes (see various applications here)....

Red onion pickled in lime juice as an accompaniment to a cochinita pibil type dish....

 

Anything else?  Please keep 'em coming!

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One of my favorite drinks to keep in the fridge is a pitcher of water with sliced cucumbers and limes. Needs no sugar.


Don't ask. Eat it.

www.kayatthekeyboard.wordpress.com

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 Enjoy a gin and tonic or three. Make some lime marmalade. 


Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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12 minutes ago, Anna N said:

 Enjoy a gin and tonic or three. Make some lime marmalade. 

I wish.... unfortunately, both alcohol and sugar are pretty much out for me right now....

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1 minute ago, KennethT said:

I wish.... unfortunately, both alcohol and sugar are pretty much out for me right now....

Sorry I should've read your post more carefully. 


Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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Just cook more Thai, Nyonya, Filipino, SE Asian food etc (other than just Vietnamese). You might find you DON'T have enough limes.

 

(BTW what sort of limes are they?)

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Ceviche.

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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In my ongoing venture to not purchase citrus - using only homegrown or gifted -  I use whatever I have as the acid in marinades and dressings. I also slice and use peel and all with roasted vegetables and proteins.  When I had lots of trees I would put out the offer to friends/neighbors to trade our various types.  I have not tried making lime oil with the zest but the idea appeals to me. 

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'Unfortunately' my lime tree is a dwarf Bearss seedless lime tree...  I say unfortunately, now, because in hindsight, I wish I had gotten a 'true' lime tree, or key lime tree as I prefer those limes to the standard Bearss limes....  I've talked about this on the gardening topic, but I'm on the fence about getting rid of this tree and replacing it with a true lime tree, but this tree is maybe 10 years old and healthy... we've grown attached to it, but don't have the space for 2 trees, not if I also want to eventually replant my heirloom goose creek tomato plant.

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