Many recipes require the juice of one lime or the zest of one lime. But exactly how much juice is in a lime anyway? And how much zest is in a lime?
In order to figure out how much juice and zest is in a lime we used medium limes, about 1.5" in diameter as our standard. There are about 4 limes in 1 pound. We found that on average, one lime has 2 tablespoons of lime juice in it. One lime also has 2 teaspoons of lime zest in it.
So if a recipe calls for the juice of 1 lime you can substitute 2 tablespoons of bottled juice. Or if it calls for 1 tablespoon of lime juice and you'd rather use fresh you can just take the juice from 1/2 a lime. Fresh lime juice is often more complex than bottled so it's best to use it when you can.
So now you can be confident that 2 tablespoons is how much juice is in a lime. Having trouble juicing limes? We highly recommended getting a hand juicer, such as the Bellemain Squeezer because it makes juicing limes, lemons, and oranges so much easier. If you are struggling to get the zest off, look into a zester, or better yet a microplane, which will also work with Parmesan cheese, nutmeg, garlic and ginger!
Many recipes call for a measurement of lime juice, but you may only have fresh limes. To figure out how many limes you need for the equivalent of juice, here are some common measurements. For a medium lime, you will get 2 tablespoons of lime juice.
You many also occasionally need to know the ounces of juice, especially when making cocktails, and there is roughly 1 ounce juice per lime.
Some recipes may take you the other direction, where you need to know how much juice to use instead of fresh limes.
In the U.S. a "regular grocery store lime" is often of the Persian variety and measure about 1.5" in diameter. If the limes are about this size, 1 pound usually contains 4 limes. However, if slightly smaller, you could estimate 5 limes per pound.
On average, 1 Persian variety of lime weighs just over 1.5 ounces or 44 grams.
Limes are a small, oval, green citrus fruit with a diameter between 1 to 2 inches.
Limes can either be sour or sweet (not readily available in the US). There are two general varieties of sour limes available, the Tahitian (includes Persian and Bearss) and the Key (used in pie).
Did you know that a ripe lime is not green but yellow in color? Limes are native to India and they remain the largest producer of limes today.
Limes have many uses: wedge garnish and juice for drinks, juice in cooking fish, soups, marinades, and desserts.
The flavor of freshly squeezed lime juice is brighter and more dynamic with a pronounced citrusy taste. For shelf-life safety, bottled lime juice has been pasteurized and contains preservatives. The bottled taste tends to be flat and exhibit a stronger bitter bite to it.
Most people would try to avoid it, but in a pinch, the better choice would be to look for an organic brand which is heavily undiluted lime juice.
Even fresh key lime juice exhibits a stronger floral quality than its bottled juice counterpart.
Even though lemons and limes both come from the same citrus family called Rutaceae, they are different species. Lemons and limes naturally grow on different trees, but horticulturists can easily cross-bred them via grafting. However, their appearance, flavor, and acidic characteristics make them distinctly different from each other.
Lemons are normally larger, coming in between 2” to 4“ (7cm to 12cm) in diameter. They have an oblong or oval-shaped, with a thick bright yellow skin. Lemons are known as a rich source of vitamin C.
In comparison, limes are smaller in size, about 1” to 2” (3cm to 6cm) in diameter. They have a rounder shape wrapped in a thin bright green skin. Even though limes do contain vitamin C, they offer much more vitamin A.
Both lemons and limes are acidic fruits with a sour taste. Since limes are more bitter, they’re often used in savory dishes and cocktails, and sweetness of lemons lends itself to either savory or sweet applications.
Key limes are also known as Mexican or West Indies limes. These are a citrus hybrid with small round shaped fruit that measures between 1” to 1.5” (25mm to 38 mm) in diameter. The Key lime is normally picked while it is still green, but it becomes slightly yellow in color and feels heavy for its size when ripe.
Key limes aromatic and floral distinctive flavor makes them popular. Although not as common in the U.S., they are more readily used throughout the rest of the world. Key lime is most often used for its juice, which is sweet and tart and a signature ingredient in key lime-based desserts, marinades, and cocktails.
In the U.S. “regular” limes are often a Persian variety which are larger and heavier than key limes, 1.5-2.5” vs 1-1.5” diameters and 3 ounces vs 1 ounce respectively. Even though key limes are juicier, due to the size difference you need to squeeze about 20 limes to get ½ cup of juice. It would only take about 3 Persian limes to get the same ½ cup quantity.
Both limes are acidic with a tangy flavor, but Persian limes lack the floral bouquet that accompanies key limes. The key lime is highly valued for this unique flavor and costs more too.
In addition, the key lime contains more seeds, higher acidity, and thinner rind than the Persian lime. The Persian lime is oval in shape where a key lime is round. Key limes are grown in tropical and subtropical climates. Most of the Persian limes are grown in Mexico and Brazil but they’re also grown in Florida.
Lime zest is small strips of the colored outside portion of the citrus fruit peel. Depending on the intended use, it can be used with or without the lime juice. The zest actually has a stronger lime taste than the juice.
You can make citrus zest with a micro-plane zester, fine grater, peeler or knife. When making any zest try not to cut into the white pithy layer between the colored outside part of the peel and the fruit inside, it is bitter to taste.
Health-wise, limes have several good uses. Many people believe drinking lime water improves your digestion because the acidity helps the saliva to break down our food and to stimulate the secretion of digestive juices. Limes are also high in vitamin C and antioxidants.
In the culinary world, both the lime zest and juice are used to enhance the flavor of fruits, vegetables, salads, and other dishes. Lime wedges are used as a garnish for cocktails, seafood dishes and many salads.
Hydrated lime, also known as slack lime, builders lime or pickling lime, is a dry, colorless crystalline powder. It’s made through a “slaking” process that treats calcium oxide with water.
Hydrated lime is used in the production of building mortars, plasters, cements, paints, hard rubber, and others.
Even though pickling lime works well for this purpose, but it's no longer recommended. The use of this chemical can lead to botulism and other health issues in the finished pickles.
The Kaffir lime tree produces hourglass-shaped "double" leaves which are fragrant and delicious. The leaf is one of the most aromatic herbs and gives food a slight but distinctive citrusy taste. Usually, they are added whole to dishes during cooking, or very finely sliced and tossed into finished dishes.
Fresh kaffir lime leaves can be purchased at local supermarket or farmers market as either fresh, frozen or dried. Fresh leaves produce a more complete vibrant flavor and aroma. But if you can’t find any fresh leaves then frozen or dried ones will help you obtain its unique flavor.
Kaffir lime leaves are a common ingredient in Thai and Indonesia cooking; especially found in their soups, curries, and stir-fries. This flavor pair well with fish, seafood, chicken, pork, noodles, rice, and most vegetables. They also blend well with Asian flavors like ginger, lemongrass, shallots and chilies.
Besides the culinary world, the extract from these fragrant leaves is used in aromatherapy. In addition, leaf oils are used on the skin in hopes of reducing the signs of aging.
The Kaffir lime is a small green warty thick-skinned fruit that contains a small amount of bitter juice. Normally the fruit isn’t eaten but many enjoy the zest from their peel. However, the fruit is used to make some mainstream medicine, and also homemade cleaning products.
Finger limes grows on short, thorny trees in the rainforests along the Australian coastal regions of Queensland and New South Wales.
They are an edible fruit with the size and shape of a finger, no more than 3” (7.6cm) in length. Inside pulp called vesicles resemble tiny caviar-like balls. Both the peel and the pulp come in a rainbow of colors from pale green, yellow, coral, to dusky red.
These fun fruit “pearls” bursts with tart flavors in your mouth. And as a bonus, finger limes are easy to use; just cut them in half with a knife and gently scoop out the pulp. The small beads are perfect for sprinkling on top of your meal, adding to a dressing for a bold flavor or stirred into your favorite cocktail for a zesty punch.
They have an extremely short season which is why they are so expensive and difficult to find. Your best chance to find finger limes is at specialty grocery stores, local farmers markets or you can always order them online.
After being an Australian basic food source for thousands of years, they are now starting to gain popularity with chefs throughout Australia.
To cut a lime wedge, slice ¼” off each end of your lime with a knife. Then cut the fruit in half lengthwise. Put the lime halves cut side-down on a cutting board. Slice it at an angle, lengthwise into the size of wedge you prefer. Do the same thing for the other lime half.
To cut a lime slice, slice the fruit in half crosswise. Depending on the thickness of the slice you want, make parallel cut about that far from the edge of the first cut.
You can always squeeze the juice out with your hands but there are several suggestions to help make juicing easier.
Regardless of what method you use to juice a lime, roll and press the limes on a hard counter prior to slicing it open. This helps soften the flesh and make it easier to release the juices when you squeeze your limes.
Juice by Hand: After rolling, cut the lime either in half crosswise or quarter it lengthwise with a knife. Put a section of the lime in your hand and squeeze the juice into a container using your fingers.
Juice by Using a Hand Reamer: After rolling, cut the lime in half crosswise with a knife. Using either a regular fork, plastic or wooden reamer, stick the implement into the pulp in the lime half. Holding the lime firmly in one hand, squeeze it and turn the reamer at the same time. The sharper the reamer, the easier it is to juice the lime. A problem with hand reamers is the splattering of lime juice during the process; this method requires post-juicing clean up.
Juice by Manual Juicer: There are several types of manual hand and manual tabletop juicers; all brands are relatively inexpensive. Regardless of which manual juicer you use, be sure to roll and press the limes on a hard counter prior to slicing it open.
Hinged hand presses are easy to use, and most strain out the seeds while directing the juice into the bowl with little mess. With this type you place the cut pulp side of the lime down on top of the slots or holes (this looks wrong, but it IS correct!). Close the press over the skin side and squeeze the juice into a bowl.
Tabletop manual juicer is another good choice. It is more stable to use operate since it sits securely on the countertop. After rolling the lime, cut it in half crosswise with a knife. Place the pulp side down on the juicer and twist the lime. The juice will flow into the attached bowl underneath the plastic reamer.
The best way to juice a lime is with a hinged hand press, they’re inexpensive, easy to use and squeeze a lot of the juice out of a lime. In addition, these presses capture most of the seeds while directing only the juice into the bowl with little mess. With this type you place the cut pulp side of the lime down on top of the slots or holes (this looks wrong, but it IS correct!). Close the press over the skin side and squeeze the juice into a bowl.
You can zest a lime with a microplane zester, fine grater, peeler or knife. Not only is a microplane a surprisingly versatile kitchen tool, is the easiest to use for zesting.
Fine Minced-like Zest: Hold the whole lime in one hand and the microplane zester in the other. Place the lime on the side of the zester with sharp edges. To make fine zest, make short strokes on the lime peel while pressing slightly; continue this motion until you have the amount you need.
Long Thin Strips: Start with the whole lime in one hand and the microplane zester in the other. Place the sharp edge of the zester at the top of the lime and pull down while pressing slightly. You may need to increase the pressure against the zester if your strips are breaking off shorter than you want. This will give you long, thin, curly strips of zest that really dress up any dish.
If you don’t own a zester, you can use a fine grater, peeler or knife in a pinch but it can be a challenge to get small strips of the outside peel only.
Even though a fine grater is basically a “large” microplane zester, it is harder to get thin or fine results. Consistency is another problem with this type of tool.
Many people who zest without a special tool use a vegetable peeler and take off wide strips. You could also do this with a sharp paring knife, but without a lot of practice, it’s difficult to get even looking strips.
A cheese grater might seem like a good option, but actually it’s not. Most of the time the sharp holes are too deep or too big to get the zest off of the citrus without including some of the bitter white pithy part under the peel.
To cut a lime wedge, slice ¼” off each end of your lime with a knife. Then cut the fruit in half lengthwise. Put the lime halves cut side-down on a cutting board. Slice it at an angle, lengthwise into the size of wedge you prefer. Do the same thing for the other lime half. Place the pulp side of the lime wedge over the edge of the class.
To cut a lime slice, slice the fruit in half crosswise. Depending on the thickness of the slice you want, make parallel cut about that far from the edge of the first cut. In order to put the lime slice on a glass as a garnish, make a slit from the center of the “wheel” through the peel. Place the opening in the slice onto the rim of the glass.
Don’t have a fresh lime and your recipe calls for zest? Maybe one of these lime zest options will save the day. For 1 teaspoon of fresh lime zest, you can replace it with 1 teaspoon of dried lime zest. It’s a straight 1 to 1 ratio for the same taste.
If you have fresh lime juice on hand, 2 tablespoons can be used as a substitute for 1 teaspoon of fresh lime juice. If you have lime extract available, you only need to use ½ teaspoon since it is much stronger replacement.
Lemon juice is an excellent substitution for lime juice since it is similar in flavor and acidity. Just measure the same amount of lemon in place of the lime juice. Sometimes citrus juices such as orange or grapefruit are used, but their sweetness will change the taste of the recipe. You may need to change the amounts of other sweet components if this type of replacement is used.
The best substitute for lime juice often depends on what you were using it for. If the recipe is for a cocktail, the same quantity of lemon juice would be the top pick. If your recipe needs acidity from the lime juice, then half the amount of vinegar may be your best choice in a savory dish or salad dressing. If the lime juice is just to add flavor, then half the amount of citrus zest can be used.
Limes are an excellent source of vitamin C which is an important antioxidant to help protect cells from damage and healing wounds. In addition, Vitamin C aids in the absorption of iron from the food we eat and helps maintain a healthy immune system. Limes also contain small amounts of iron, calcium, vitamin B6, thiamine and potassium.
Like many citrus fruit, limes are very low in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium, all dietary issues many people are encouraged to reduce or avoid completely.
There are 11 calories in 1 lime weighing 1.6 ounces (44g).
Limes can be stored in many different ways, depending on if they are cut, or it is short term or long term storage
Limes can be kept at room temperature where they will stay fresh for up to 1 week.
Store limes loosely in a plastic bag in the crisper section of the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
Once a lime is cut, it is best to refridgerate it. Wrap them tightly in plastic wrap to keep out the air. They should last for several days.
It's not recommended to freeze them unless you are only using them for juice since they will be mushy. They will last in the freezer for several months though.
Key lime pie is best served chilled so loosely cover it with some plastic wrap or aluminum foil and store it in the refrigerator until serving it. Newly baked key lime pie will keep in the refrigerator for about 2 to 3 days.
You can freeze key lime pie by tightly wrapping it with aluminum foil or plastic freezer wrap. It can also be placed in a plastic airtight container or in heavy-duty freezer bag. The pie will retain its fresh taste for 2 months.
Kaffir lime leaves should remain in top condition for a week if you place them in a plastic bag or container and store them in the refrigerator.
If longer than a week until used, the leaves can be frozen by putting them into a resealable plastic bag. To use them, simply remove one or two leaves as you need them and run them under warm water for a few seconds to thaw them and release the aroma. You don't need to worry as they will last at least a year with good flavor.
If wrapped in plastic, you can store Australian finger limes in the refrigerator for about 3 weeks. If you need to store finger limes for a longer time, place them directly in the freezer until frozen. As soon as hardened, put them in an airtight plastic container or freezer bag for the rest of the time. Their delicious unique flavor will remain in tack for a good 6 months. To use, take as many a frozen finger limes as you need and place in the refrigerator. It only takes about 20 minutes for the limes to thaw enough to get the pulp caviar pearls out.
Place freshly squeezed lime juice in ice cube trays until frozen, then store cubes in plastic bags in the freezer to be used as needed.
Dried lime zest can be stored in a cool and dry place in an airtight glass container.
One of the biggest hassles when cooking and working in the kitchen is when a recipe calls for "the juice of 1 lime" or a similar measurement. Often times when cooking people use bottled juices, pre-sliced vegetables and other convenient cooking time savers. Produce Converter will help you convert the "juice of 1 lime" and other similar recipe instructions into tablespoons, cups and other concrete measurements.
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