Like the sherbet bomb you ate as a kid! These limes are so tangy and delicious, we use them at home in everything. We have a huge container of them in the freezer and pop them into gin and tonics, cakes, stir-fries, salads – just about anything that wants a fresh lime addition. The best part is they freeze whole and can be eaten whole too.
The Desert Lime is also known as Wild Lime, Bush Lime and in some cases the Native cumquat. Growing to the size of grapes, it is a small berry sized fruit with an intense, zesty flavour - although not quite as tart as regular limes. They are also a very rich source of calcium and contain high levels of vitamin C, folate (vitamin B9), vitamin E and lutein. They also have a high potassium to sodium ratio, which may help to reduce blood pressure.
We have a huge container of them in the freezer and pop them into gin and tonics, cakes, stir-fries, salads – just about anything that wants a fresh lime addition.
◎ Common Name: Desert Lime
◎ Scientific or Latin Name: Citrus glauca
◎ Comparison: Tahitian lime
◎ Seasonality: All year frozen
◎ Region: Rainforest, Eastern Australia
◎ Taste Profile: The desert lime's distinctive piquant lime flavour and refreshing taste means that it can be used in any context that a standard lime or citrus fruit can be used. They have a pleasant, sharp and mildly sweet citrus taste on the front palate, with refreshing herbaceous notes.
◎ Types: We offer Desert Lime in two varieties, powdered and chips.
Chips: These come as dried whole chips and make fantastic additions to cocktails and mocktails, along with some finger lime chips.
- Desert limes are a powerful source of antioxidants
- The antioxidant capacity of desert limes is higher than the blueberry, which is renowned worldwide as the ‘health-promoting fruit’.
- Boasts three times the amount of Vitamin C than oranges. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant which helps rejuvenate the skin, enhance skin firmness, even tone and revitalise tissue.
- Desert limes are a rich source of Vitamin E, folate, calcium, and lutein (a compound that plays an important role in eye health and wellbeing).
- It also has a high potassium:sodium ratio, which may help reduce blood pressure.
Traditional Aboriginal Food and Uses
Desert limes were eaten whole by Indigenous Australians and have been used for generations to make cordials, sauces, garnishes, marmalades, pickles and chutneys, and even straight from the trees as a thirst quencher.
The fruit is one of the most popular Australian bush foods. It used to be abundant in the wild in bush land areas, where it was harvested. Lately, bush land is increasingly converted into agricultural land and the desert lime has disappeared from some areas, while becoming rare in others.
Western & Modern
The mature ripe fruit or pulp are sold either fresh, frozen or pureed, and used in a wide variety of food and beverage products.
The desert lime is used in many products, including dressings and marinades, chutneys, jams, pickles and preserves, brined peel and candied products. Other uses include flavoured butters, cordials, syrups and liqueurs. It can be incorporated into a variety of sweet and savoury dishes, including frozen desserts, baked goods and seafood and poultry dishes.
The essential oil is used in flavourings and chemicals. Most recently Desert Lime is featuring in cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries, including anti-ageing skincare and sunscreen products.
Desert lime shows the highest source of folate amongst the key commercial native food crops, and is a very rich source of calcium. Rich in Vitamin C antioxidants, this combination of superfood nutrients can aid in the prevention and repair of the following:
- Rejuvenate the skin, enhance skin firmness, even out patchy skin tone & revitalise skin tissue.
- High in vitamins C and E and also lutein (which is good for eye health and wellbeing).
- High potassium: sodium ratio, which may help to reduce blood pressure.
- Desert lime is a major source of limnocitrin and other methoxy flavone glycosides. The human body uses glycosides to heal and repair damage to the skin.
- The fruits are very rich in antioxidants, which neutralise the dangerous free radicals produced by our metabolism. They boost the strength of the immune system and allow it to fight back against pathogens and diseases.
- Eating the fruit also improves the skin, by increasing the production of collagen in the collective tissues.
- Desert limes are also a great natural source of furanocoumarin. This bioactive compound contributes to the health of the skin, increasing the rate of regeneration, healing wounds and reducing the visible signs of aging.
- Coumarin is also present in Desert Limes. It has the ability to kill fungus but also acts like an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant agent.
- In addition, coumarin is an ingredient in sun protection products because it blocks the harmful UV radiation in sunlight.
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Desert Lime is featured in these recipes in Warndu Mai:
Warndu Products featuring Desert Lime
Note: The term 'Bush Tucker' and 'Bush Food' are not Warndu's preferred terms for Australian Native Ingredients or Australian Botanicals.
Images: © Luisa Brimble