Limes are a great addition to your pantry since they are cost-effective and super healthy. Here is what you need to know about storing this fruit.
To begin, you must understand the nuances of lemons and limes. These closely related fruits are quite similar in terms of their nutritional benefits, although there are slight variations in flavor, size and color.
Limes are somewhat smaller than lemons. They are low in calories and a great source of vitamin C and B-9. Since they are so economical, you should rely on limes to meet your daily requirements of these said vitamins. due to the fact that limes have slightly higher acid content and a stronger flavor, they are a dense and therefore slightly cheaper source of acidic content that can add zest and tangy flavor to your meals.
They can rev up your digestion and promote the production of digestive juices.
How to Prepare Limes for Storage
Limes can be easily prepared for storage by washing them. This is a good food safety practice so you should make it a habit to follow this procedure before storing limes. First, wash your hands with warm soapy water. Pour cool tap water over the limes to wash them. Make sure that you do NOT use any soap or detergent for washing limes. Dry the limes well using a clean dish towel prior to refrigerating them. Make sure that your refrigerator is working at the right temperature as specified by the manufacturer. You can verify this by consulting the user manual that came with your refrigerator and by checking the temperature dial within the fridge. Adjust it if necessary.
You should know the correct way of storing limes. If you don’t, then more often than not you will find that these fruits have become hardened and dried, and will yield as much juice as a potato. Any lime aficionado will definitely want to squeeze every drop out of their limes.
Don’t Store Them Here
You might think that your precious limes look quite pretty on your kitchen counter. But that’s just a fallacy. In fact it is one of the worst places to put your limes.
Cook’s Illustrated dabbled in several ways of storing limes and, to their consternation, found that the rinds are not very good at preserving the juice of the citrus fruit. The culinary magazine’s experts tried storing lemons in normal refrigerators and at standard room temperature and conditions. Within the refrigerator, they also tried storing limes with and without plastic bags.
They tested three different techniques for storing limes in both the refrigerator and at room temperature. The three techniques involved storing the fruit in open containers, sealed zip lock bags and sealed zip lock bags with about a quarter cup of added water. They measured the weight of the fruits prior to the experiment and recorded it. Further weight measurements were taken during the duration of the experiment to gauge the amount of juice that had been lost.
Unsurprisingly, the limes stored at room temperature hardened after just one week. The results for refrigerated cohorts were rather more encouraging. It should be noted that the lemons were stored in the crisper drawer section of the refrigerator. The uncovered limes in the refrigerator started losing moisture after about a week and lost up to 5 percent of their weight in the following weeks. The zip lock limes fared the best. They did not lose water content until after four weeks had elapsed. Quite surprisingly, water had neither positive nor adverse effect on the limes.
When refrigerated properly in zip lock bags, limes can last up to six weeks although they will start to lose moisture content after four weeks. They should be kept away from bright lights which will cause the fruit to age and turn the rind yellow in color. Although such fruit is safe to consume, the light exposure will give the rind an overly ripe look.
Keep the limes in a place within the refrigerator where they will not be squashed. You should ideally devote a compartment or section of your refrigerator for lime, lemon and similar produce.
Keep checking the lime for any sign of mold, softening or spoilage. Discard them if any such sign becomes apparent. If you use your limes by four weeks, then this is highly unlikely. You should ideally inspect the fruit for freshness once per day. If you notice spoilage in certain limes, then discard them immediately. Otherwise, the rest of the fruits will be spoilt by cross contamination. Never attempt to consume any lime (or other fruit) that is showing even mild signs of spoilage. This can possibly lead to food poisoning. It is quite likely that the taste has also deteriorated so using such fruit in food items, such as desserts and marinades, will ruin the flavor in addition to posing a health hazard.
It is a sound nutritional and safety procedure to use only organically grown limes although they will likely last for lesser time period than conventionally grown limes.
Storing Sliced Limes
If you want to store slices of limes for quick retrieval, then use a clean cutting board and paring knife. The instruments should be sanitized according to the aforementioned procedure. Do not keep these slices in the refrigerator for more than one day; otherwise, they will not taste fresh.
If you want to extract the juice, then use a cutting board that has been cleaned with warm water and dishwashing detergent. Never use unwashed cutting boards or other utensils after they have come in contact with meat, produce poultry, sea food – make sure you always wash them first before using them anywhere else. This will prevent cross contamination. Chopping boards and cutting utensils can be sanitized in the following way: mix a teaspoon of unscented chlorine-based bleach in a quart of water. This mixture should be poured over the surface of cutting board and other utensils. Allow them to sit for at least one minute. Rinse thoroughly with plenty of running water. It would be a good idea to use a separate cutting board for meats and vegetables/fruits.
If you must carry your lime juice outside, say, on a picnic, then pour it in a cooler. Use plenty of ice and gel packs to keep the juice cool.
If limes are stored in loose plastic bags in the refrigerator, they can last up to two weeks especially if the plastic bags are tightened. Tightening helps in preventing moisture loss from evaporation. The best thing to do is to use zip lock bags which will extend lime freshness up to four weeks.
Secret to Juicy Limes
Obviously, the first step is to shop for the juiciest limes that you can lay your hands on. The trick is to look out for thin-skinned limes. Being thick skinned may help get you to get through life’s tribulations but when it comes to limes you must make an exception. Thin-skinned is the way to go. The thicker-skinned fruits yield significantly less juice. They are also invariably rock hard. And that is problematic. Because citrus fruit connoisseurs know that hard stuff exudes less juice. This holds true even when the limes have the same size and weight.
Like other citrus fruits, lime juice does not freeze well. If you want to freeze lime juice, it is best to do so by pouring the juice in an ice cube tray. When the juice is frozen in this manner, the lime cubes can be placed in a resealable plastic freezer bag and then stored in the freezer.
If you want to use the lime rind in dessert, you should check it carefully by tasting a little bit before using it in your dessert. The peel has many essential oils which can spoil easily, so if you are not careful, the peels will impart a strange flavor to your dessert. It is best to preserve lime peels in air-tight containers in the refrigerator. Use them within three weeks. They make an excellent addition to desserts.
So there you have it! The best way to store your limes is in zip lock bags in the crisper drawer section of your refrigerator. Leaving them high and dry on the kitchen counter will make them… well, dry. Proper storage means that dehydration will be delayed by four weeks and your limes will last four times as long.
While using lemons on a daily basis is an excellent idea, limes may offer a cost-saving benefit. They have a sharper taste and are tarter, so you will need to use less limes as compared to lemons. You can use limes as a substitute for lemons. If you require 1 cup of lemon juice, then ¾ cup or 2/3 cup of lime juice will suffice, owing to its stronger tart flavor.
These citrus fruits are a great source of antioxidants which are beneficial for protecting your body against free radical damage and chronic illnesses.
Since limes have high vitamin C content and antioxidants, they are superb for your skin as they support and protect the collagen – an important component of your skin. It’s no wonder that Vitamin C and flavanoids are found in so many skin care products. Limes are definitely more cost-effective.
Considering the remarkable health benefits of limes, you would probably like to stock up on substantial quantities. But you should have a clear idea of storage techniques that will maximize the life of these precious fruits. That’s important especially if you don’t do your groceries every day. Conveniently stocked limes will provide hassle-free and easy access so that it’s unlikely that you will skip consuming them on a daily basis.
There are a number of types of limes available in the market. Some varieties have higher juice content. So it is worthwhile to become a little familiar with lime varieties.
The Tahitian limes are slightly larger than ordinary varieties and have a sour acidic taste.
Mexican limes are smaller than the Tahitian variety. The skin of these limes is bright green. They have a pleasant aromatic smell.
The key limes have a pale greenish yellow skin color. They have a tart strong taste and contain plenty of juice. These are one of the best varieties in terms of juice content.
Limes have the advantage that they are available all year round, meaning that you will have cheap and easy access to vitamin c throughout the year. However, in the Northern Hemisphere, limes are best in the peak season that lasts from May to August.
How to Choose Your Limes
Make sure that the limes which you are purchasing are blemish-free and have unbroken skin. Glossy skin texture indicates that the fruit is fresh. Watch out for the skin color. Yellowish texture means that the taste has somewhat subsided. A good variety is one that is larger than average and is relatively heavy. Juicier limes of the same variety will be heavier owing to higher liquid content.
There are a few defects that limes may have owing to improper storage. Make sure you look out for these problems before making a purchase in the grocery store. Avoid limes that have spongy areas and are suffering decay, bruises and molds. Brown spots over limes indicate that they are suffering from scald which will give a moldy taste to the fruit. It’s best to avoid them.