Monday, September 19, 2011

What the Hell is a Finger Lime?

Hours ago, I was asking myself the same question.

Up to my elbows in roast pork and sweet plantains, I was having lunch with a friend in the Food/Publishing world. As is often the case, I asked her if she had noticed any fun new trends about to swell in the local culinary scene, and Finger Limes were her almost immediate answer. I was intrigued because, frankly, I had never heard of such a thing.

Apparently it is a micro-citrus, so it is not a varietal of lemon or lime; it is shaped somewhat like a finger, which I imagine is where the name comes from; and the pulp inside is made up of individual, spherical juice vesicles that can be green, pink, or red and look like caviar.

Obviously there are a number of fun ways that you can use something like this. Chefs are always looking to make food look like other food, and 'caviar,' when able to be pulled off, never fails to impress. Add to that the fact that this fruit does have a lemon-lime flavor, which is pretty much one of the most versatile flavors in a cook's arsenal (and such acidity is the very counterpoint to saltiness when creating balance in a dish), and the finger lime becomes a pretty versatile and valuable fruit to have lying around.

Also worth noting is the fact that this fruit has only been cultivated in the last 30 years! It was discovered growing wild in Australia by aborigines, and the first tree in the United States was donated to UC Riverside; however, there has been limited success in cultivating it elsewhere, so for now it's still hard to get... which is another prized quality in the restaurant world.

So now I know what a finger lime is. And I want to eat one.


  1. Nice post. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us.

  2. Thanks so much for your comment! Keep reading, and feel free to tell others...!