Years ago, Mark and I had the chance to visit Syndey Australia. As soon as we landed, I was excited to start exploring the countryside. After a few days of hiking and swimming, new friends that we made suggested we take a trip to a local finger lime farm called the Lime Caviar Company, which was located a few hours outside of the city.
What are finger limes?
Finger limes look like little cucumbers. They come from the Rutaceae family of citrus flowering plants. They are often placed in the order Sapindales.
The fruit is composed of mostly water and has a vaguely grapefruit-like aroma. Finger limes come in three colors: yellow, green, and red.
Their skin is pebbled and slightly rough-textured. When you slice one open, you will see the special characteristics of finger limes.
Their skin is pebbled and slightly rough-textured. When you slice one open, you will see the special characteristics of finger limes. When you do, you will see many small spherical globules housing pure tart lime goodness inside each.
The colors of the juicy capsules, which are often referred to as “lime caviar,” range in color from light yellow green to green to light pink. It likely gets the caviar name because the pink capsules of lime juice resemble caviar.
Where can we find fresh finger lime farms?
The Australian finger lime (Citrus australasica) thrives in different areas of Australia. Finger limes are native to Australia. The native growing area of finger limes borders the Australian rainforest in this region.
This mini cucumber resembling lime are a relatively new crop and are predominantly grown in Australia, the country of their origin. However, in recent years, finger lime cultivation has spread to other countries as well. Here are five countries where finger limes are currently grown:
- USA (primarily in California)
In the United States, California, Arizona, Louisiana, and Florida grow crops of them every year as excited finger lime fans wait patiently for them to be harvested. Once ready, finger limes have a short season of only about eight weeks.
Finger limes are pricey and rare
Finger limes are not easy to find, so when you do, you can consider yourself lucky. The craziest thing about them is perhaps the price. You can expect to pay anywhere from $60-$120 per pound. Some may consider finger limes a delicacy based on their low supply and high price.
Our tour of a finger lime farm outside of Syndey Australia
We arrived at the farm early in the morning and were greeted by a staff member who would be showing us around. He was extremely knowledgeable about finger limes and shared with us some fascinating facts about this caviar of fruit:
- Finger limes are native to Australia and have been used for thousands of years by the indigenous people for their medicinal properties.
- The fruit got its name because it looks like a finger when it is fully grown.
- The skin of a finger lime can come in a variety of colors, including green, yellow, and pink.
- Finger limes are rich in Vitamin C, potassium, and fiber, making them a healthy addition to any diet.
- The juice pearls inside a finger lime are small and round, similar to caviar, and are perfect for garnishing cocktails or added to salads.
- Finger limes are an extremely versatile fruit and can be used in sweet or savory dishes.
- They are also low in acidity, which makes them a great alternative to traditional citrus fruits in recipes.
- Finger limes have a slightly sour taste, which makes them a popular ingredient in marinades and dressings.
- They are also commonly used in desserts, such as sorbets and mousses, to add a unique burst of flavor.
- Finger limes are a relatively new crop in terms of commercial cultivation but are growing in popularity around the world due to their unique taste and texture.
After our tour, we were invited to sit down and taste some finger lime treats. We were served finger lime margaritas, finger lime infused water, and finger lime sorbet. Each drink was absolutely delicious and bursting with flavor with the same type of texture as caviar has.
As we sat there sipping our drinks, I couldn’t help but think about how lucky we were to have stumbled upon this little piece of paradise. The finger lime farm had been such an unexpected and wonderful experience, and I left feeling grateful for the opportunity to learn more about this incredible fruit.
Here is a 27 second video showing the farm, what they look like at harvest time, and ways to use finger limes from The Lime Caviar Company’s website:
If you are looking a little bit closer to home for this fruit delicacy, and if you are in North America, Shanley Farms is located in the Central Coast region of California, USA.
Their address is 18647 Vista Del Sol, Temecula, CA 92591. They are a family-owned farm that specializes in growing a variety of citrus fruits, including finger limes, as well as avocados and other specialty produce.
You can buy their fresh finger limes here, depending on if they are ready or in season:
SHANLEY FARMS Finger Limes Package
Perhaps you want to try growing these gems yourself! You can buy quality seeds and learn how to grow these amazing and rare fruits that will certainly drum up conversation.
2. Finger Lime Seeds|50 Mix Color Rare Finger Limes Citrus
What you get when you slice open a finger lime
You can use finger limes in both savory and sweet recipes. Once cut open, if you squeeze a finger lime, it will produce anywhere from 1-2 teaspoons of juice, or approximately 0.2 ounces.
These citrus fruits are quite different than the more common lime—they’re smaller and longer, about 2-3 inches in length, have a thinner skin, and are tart. They weigh anywhere from 8–10 grams each. They have a lemon-lime with a hint of grapefruit flavor.
If you’re in the mood for a citrus fruit that’s a little different and you’d like to try a showstopper, you need to get your hands on some finger limes!
5 Reasons Why Finger Limes Are Your Secret Ingredient to Becoming a Superstar Chef
- The Flavor is Out of this World
Finger limes are packed with fresh lemon-lime flavor with a hint of grapefruit that will elevate any dish. Pair them with grilled fish and shellfish for a tangy twist, or add them to raw seafood like ceviche or sushi for an extra burst of flavor.
- Their Appearance is Stunning
The juice-filled beads of the finger lime look beautiful sitting on top of a platter of oysters. The interior bubbles hold their lemon-lime flavored tarte liquid until they are crushed or bitten into, which means they won’t add flavor or create a liquid on top of the food until ready.
- They Can Replace Sour Cherries in Many Recipes
Finger limes can be used in place of sour cherries in many desserts and recipes. Their light green to pale pink beads add interest and flavor to any dish. Use them in cocktails, desserts like cheesecake and ice cream, and in many cultural cuisines.
- They’re Great in Cocktails
The beads of the finger lime make a great addition to cocktails, adding both flavor and visual appeal. Use them to create unique and delicious drinks that are sure to impress your guests at your next dinner party.
- They’re a Conversation Starter
Not only do finger limes taste amazing and look stunning, but they’re also a great conversation starter. Impress your friends and family by using them in your dishes and drinks, and watch as they marvel at the unique and delicious touch you’ve added to your culinary creations.
Nick DiGiovanni shows you why finger limes are a great conversation starter in this video that is less than a minute-
How to process finger limes
To release the tiny pearls of juice flavor, cut the finger lime in half and squeeze from the bottom to the sliced area as if you were squeezing a tube.
The caviar-like pearls will come out whole and will not burst and release their juice until they are in your mouth. Try adding them to your next cocktail mix or salad dressing recipe.
What are the benefits of eating finger limes?
- Finger limes have high nutrition content, including Vitamin A, Vitamin C, iron, and calcium.
- They are also very low in calories.
- Finger limes have anti-inflammatory properties that can help relieve pain, swelling, and irritation.
- The juice from finger limes can be used as a natural toner for skin or mixed with water to make a refreshing drink.
- Finger limes are a great source of Vitamin C, which is important for maintaining healthy skin cells and collagen levels.
Are there any recipes that specifically call for finger lime ingredients?
Yes! This 3 minute video shows a lovely grilled shrimp recipe with finger lime garnish and a grapefruit drink recipe that we think is the best way to enjoy the delectable flavor of the lime caviar. Quyen Lovrich shows you in her video with Melissa’s Kitchen here:
You can be creative with finger limes and use them wherever you would use citrus. We suggest using them in such a way that takes advantage of their visually appealing spherical tarte vessels, like using them as a garnish on meat, seafood, salads, or cocktails.
For more information on the delicious flavoring of natural lime:
Concluding remarks on finger limes and how they are grabbing the culinary world by a storm
Finger limes are proving to be a game-changing fruit in the culinary world. With their unique appearance, tangy flavor and numerous health benefits, it’s no surprise that they’re becoming increasingly popular with chefs and foodies alike.
Whether used as a garnish, added to cocktails or incorporated into dishes, finger limes add a burst of flavor and texture that is sure to impress. As more people discover this “culinary caviar,” we can expect to see even more innovative and exciting creations featuring this versatile ingredient.
It’s clear that finger limes aren’t just a passing trend – they are here to stay!
Sources and additional reading on finger limes
- “Finger Lime: A Unique Microcitrus for the World” from the Journal of Food Science: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/1750-3841.14818
- “The Finger Lime: A Fruit That Bursts in Your Mouth” from The New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/26/dining/the-finger-lime-a-fruit-that-bursts-in-your-mouth.html
- “10 Things You Need to Know About Finger Limes” from Food & Wine: https://www.foodandwine.com/news/finger-lime-guide
- “What Are Finger Limes and Why Are They Taking Over Instagram?” from Bon Appétit: https://www.bonappetit.com/story/finger-lime
- “Finger Limes: The Tiny Fruit That Packs a Flavor Punch” from NPR: https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2019/03/21/704273872/finger-limes-the-tiny-fruit-that-packs-a-flavor-punch
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