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Mar 31, 2008 01:04 PM

Yellow Limes

At the farmer's market yesterday I bought some yellow limes. They looked a lot like Meyer lemons. I'd never seen yellow limes before, and I asked the vendor if they were a special variety. He said no, that ripe limes are always yellow, but that they are almost always picked and sold green. He wasn't sure why -- maybe to make it easier to tell limes and lemons apart.

Is this true? If so, I've never had ripe lime juice until yesterday. We juiced one of them last night, and it was much juicier than any green lime I've ever had. Unfortunately, it wasn't a perfect tasting situation, since my husband used the juice to make cocktails. :-) I'm going to zest and juice one today to get a better sense of what the difference is.

Anyway, I'd love to hear any yellow lime experiences....

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  1. I am assuming that what you got were standard limes also known as persain or tahitian limes. If the limes were much much smaller (about large walnut size) those would be key limes also know as mexican limes which are a different species. Those limes are often sold yellow (I've seen them sold green too but yellow is more common) and you are right yellow tend to be much, much juicer and the juice tends to have a "brighter" taste.

    1. Your farmer was right. We have a lime tree in our back yard that produces yellow limes as they ripen. I've been stooged so many times cutting into a lime that I thought was a lemon that we now keep lemons in a separate bag in the fridge.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Bob Brooks

        There is also a fruit sold in mexico that in the stores they call Limon Real. It tastes like a strange lime. Very disappointing for those of us who thought we were buying a typical American or Persian lemon.

      2. On the other hand, in Taiwan, all the lemons are green. They look like lemons (with the pointed head and tail) and thicker skin but they are definitely green (even when ripen). I wonder why.

        1 Reply
        1. re: lydiainflorida

          Mexivilla that sound like the key lime unless its what they call an indian or palestinian sweet lemon (tastes like a citrus with all of the sour bite taken out of it) (no, I dont like or reccomend them)

          Lydia I am wondering is what you seein is what the call the Taiwan lemon (you said thicker skin) That's actually a hybrid between the regular lemon and a fruit called the ichang (a rather blah tasting lemon like fruit notes mainly for the fact that it can take tempertures down to -10C without undue stress) There is also the Kaffir lime (look like a persian lime thats covered with shar-pei like wrinkes) the souce of the lime leaves used in Thai cooking this is another I reccomend the juice oriented to avoid as the juice tastes like what you would get if you threw the whole fruit (peel and all) into a blender and filterd it (traslation the juice tastes like it has the peel mixed in)

        2. I too have a Persian lime bush and though the ripe fruits are generally green (you can tell they're ripe because they'll actually pull off the stem readily) but do turn yellow eventually. The rind also seems to thicken a bit as well but not have as much of that limey zest.

          I find that the yellow ones are jucier, but I don't really make much of a distinction when I'm picking one. I usually go for those that are easiest to reach.

          1. Thanks for all the replies. Interesting lime lore!

            Last night we tasted some of the juice from one of the limes we bought, and the consensus (if the judgement of two people can be called a consensus) was that it had a distinctively spicy, lime-y smell, but tasted more lemon-y than a green lime.

            1 Reply
            1. re: jlafler

              Coincidentally, I just read somewhere that some common species of lime (I think it was Bearss) turns yellow when exposed to cold weather, so they might have been Bearss raised in cool conditions. I don't think it's true, though, that *all* limes turn yellow when ripe.