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Finger Limes and How to Use Them

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Every week we get Down & Dirty, in which we break down our favorite unique seasonal fruits, vegetables, and more.

Today: Pop Rocks come in an all-natural lime flavor.

Finger Limes and How to Use Them, from Food52

Finger limes are a type of tiny citrus -- microcitrus actually -- native to Australia. Their name comes from the fact that they are about the size and shape of a finger (they max out at around 3 inches in length), and both the peel and the pulp come in a rainbow of colors. The pulp (more properly called juice vesicles) of most citrus fruit looks like elongated teardrops, but finger lime’s vesicles are tiny little balls -- a tart, fruit caviar that holds its shape until the beads burst in your mouth (in case their diminutive size and wide range of colors weren't enough fun for you).

All About Finger Limes, from Food52

Look for finger limes at specialty grocery stores -- in some parts of California, you might be able to find finger limes at your farmers market. Select finger limes with brightly-colored skin (1); small brown patches (2) won’t affect flavor, but steer clear of specimens with dull, dry, shriveled skin (they’re past their prime). Store them in the refrigerator wrapped in plastic for a couple of weeks, and if you don’t have any luck finding them locally, you can always order them online

More: How to Zest Citrus Without Leaving Flavor Behind

Finger Limes and How to Use Them, from Food52

Cut your finger limes in half, and squeeze up from the bottom to release the pulp (3) -- anywhere you’d use a squeeze of lime juice, substitute a small amount of pulp. 

Garnish with Abandon
Top oysters, scallops, or sushi (any seafood really) with finger lime pulp. Treat your vegetarian friends to nigiri sushi with avocado or papaya and a flourish of finger lime pulp. Take cocktails to the next level; try them in a finger lime mojito or an elderflower gin fizz, or even a basic gin and tonic.

Finger Limes and How to Use Them, from Food52

Elevate a Salad
Top off a fruit salad with a sprinkling of finger lime pulp -- just leave out any other citrus to let the finger limes be the star of the show. Or try them in a fancy fruit pairing, with persimmons and ginger or watermelon and whipped feta. Enjoy them in a savory salad too, or replace citrus juice in a vinaigrette with finger lime pulp for a burst of flavor with every bite.

Finger Limes and How to Use Them, from Food52

Give Your Desserts Some Flair
Finger lime pulp can be used in a citrus curd or suspended in a cheesecake. Or, try finger limes in cookiesice cream, or on top of cream puffs.

Let us know your favorite ways to use finger limes (or how you'd like to try using them) in the comments!

Photos by James Ransom 

Tags: Sustainability, Ingredients, Down and Dirty, Diagrams