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Dec 2, 2005 05:58 PM

kaffir lime

  • j

I bought a kaffir lime at the Farmer's Market, just because it was there and I've never seen one before. It's been sitting on the kitchen counter for a week now. It has interesting wrinkled skin and smells very nice. Other than continuing to admire its looks and smell, is there anything I can do with it before it rots?

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  1. I can't answer your question, but a couple of years ago we got a kaffir tree from a thai festival. In addition to being a cool plant in our house, it gives off the leaves to use in thai cooking. We haven't had fruit yet though.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Dennis S

      I have one too, for the leaves. But the chances of ever getting fruit from an indoor plant are virtually nil. If you can put it outside in full sun when its warm and then keep it very, very brightly lit indoors for the winter, you might eventually get fruit. (A seed grown plant, as opposed to a grafted plant though, can take many years to flower, if it ever does at all.)

      Not that I'm anything of an expert, but the only thing I've seen the rind used for is curry pastes. The juice may be used occasionally, but they don't have much pulp and they're mostly used for the skin. (If you want to hold onto it for a longer period, you can freeze it, on or off the fruit, but seal it very tightly or the whole freezer will come to smell of it.)

      1. re: MikeG

        I don't have kaffir but I do have a Limequat which is producing fruit and blossoming right now indoors in south central Indiana. A Calamondin orange too that when it is really abundant with fruit I make marmalade with it. I had a Meyer lemon but it produced one good sized lemon and then finally expired. I actually keep them a bit shaded in the summer and they sit in front of full length windows which get western sun all winter.

        1. re: MikeG

          We have a tree in the backyard and it has lots of limes. I think you the OP moves it outside next spring it will develop fruit.

          1. re: yimster

            Where do you live that your kaffir lime flowers so easily? I have a very experienced gardener friend in the Central Valley who would be very envious! LOL (She keeps hers in a greenhouse over even their mild winters and still gets only minimal fruit. Ah well...) She thinks they must be more distinctly tropical than other citrus, which she usually has no trouble growing, with a little frost protection at least.

            1. re: MikeG

              In the South Bay Area. Everything grow here. Not as hot as the Central Valley but close and we do not need frost protection. .

      2. It is extremely sour, at least in the ones I've bought. They are sold regularly at the farmer's markets here in San Francisco. I once made a palate cleanser of three lime sorbets. Uh, three different sorbets each with one lime varietal.

        Other than that I juice them and freeze the juice. Generally add it to asian dishes, particularly when coconut milk will be added to blunt the sting. I don't know that it's authentic, but I guess fusion is about finding what works rather than what is traditional.

        Oh, the rind grates well (MicroPlanes well) to keep that aroma. The juice doesn't seem to have the aroma.

        One other point, I think the official name has been changed to something like maggrit as kafir is culturally offensive. Though the thai farmer last weekend seemed happy as could be to sell me 50 cents worth of leaves under the old name. My allocation for 2006.

        2 Replies
        1. re: SteveT

          Which farmer at what market! I must get leaves too.

          1. re: nooodles

            UN Plaza in the cul de sac behind the dates and near the live birds. I've never seen them labelled, nor anything else at their table. Last week the limes were out on the table, while the leaves were all together in an opaque bag on the table.

            They also sell at Alemany, though I don't remember where. Separately, they are available on Clement (the big market btwn 8th/9th). Saw them (and curry leaves) on Thursday. Cheaper (I'm pretty sure) and fresher (definitely) at UN plaza.

        2. Is very good finely chopped and cooked with white fish.

          1. Some of Kasma's Thai recipes including Kaffir lime.