Key lime

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A ripe Key lime

The Key lime (Citrus aurantifolia or Christmas Swingle) is a citrus species with a globose fruit, 2.5-5 cm in diameter (1-2 in), that is yellow when ripe but usually picked green commercially. It is smaller, seedier, has a higher acidity, a stronger aroma, and a thinner rind than that of the Persian lime (Citrus x latifolia). It is valued for its unique flavour compared to other limes, with the key lime usually having a more tart and bitter flavour. The name comes from its association with the Florida Keys (Quays), where it is best known as the flavouring ingredient in Key lime pie. It is also known as West Indian lime, Bartender's lime or Mexican lime, the latter classified as a distinct race with a thicker skin and darker green colour.

Removing the wax coating from key limes

non organic citrus fruit is coated with a thin layer of wax (either petroleum based or natural), which prevents water loss and therefore extends the shelf life. Wax is also used for aesthetic reasons. Apparently, as consumers, we demand shiny fruit. Organic fruit is not waxed as that would not be permitted under organic standards.

Here are a couple of methods that you can use to remove wax from key limes:

Boiling water
  • Place fruit in a colander
  • Boil a kettle & leave to cool for 5 minutes
  • Pour over the fruit
  • Using gloves to protect your hands from the heat, scrub the fruit with a small brush
  • Rinse with cold water and wipe dry with paper towels
Microwave
  • Microwave fruit for 10 seconds
  • Using gloves to protect your hands from the heat, scrub the fruit with a small brush
  • Rinse with cold water and wipe dry with paper towels

How much does one cup of key lime flesh weigh?

Estimated US cup to weight equivalents:

Ingredient US Cups Grams Ounces
Key lime flesh segments/large pieces/ flesh only
1
225 grams 8 ounces

Conversion notes:
Every ingredient has a cups to ounces or grams conversion table. Search for the ingredient, cup to weight conversions are at the end of each ingredient page.

We also have a generic conversion table and a portions per person lookup.


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