Local Citrus – Lemons, Limes & Grapefruit


As you will know it is citrus central in the Bellinger Valley. Almost perfect growing conditions means so much fruit and so many varieties – so we are going to focus on one at a time! This month…. Lemons, Limes and Grapefruit

Citrus is a popular fruit in this region – and with good reason – it is ideally suited to our climate. It is not a new arrival either – recent research indicates citrus originated here in Australia, and also in New Caledonia and New Guinea.

A lime is a citrus fruit, and there are several species of citrus trees whose fruits are called limes, including the Key lime(Citrus aurantifolia), Persian lime, kaffir lime, and desert lime. Limes are an excellent source of vitamin C, and are often used to accent the flavours of foods and beverages. They are grown year-round in tropical climates and are usually smaller and less sour than lemons, although varieties may differ in sugar and acidic content.

As compared to lemons, limes contain less vitamin C, but the amount is still an excellent source, providing 35% of the Daily Value per 100 g serving Limes are a good source of dietary fibre and contain numerous other nutrients in small quantities.

The kaffir lime , sometimes referred to in English as the makrut limeor is a fruit native to tropical Asia including India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines. The rind of the kaffir/makrut lime is commonly used in Lao and Thai curry paste, however it is the hourglass-shaped leaves that are used most often in cooking. The juice and rinds are used in traditional medicine in some Asian countries; the fruit’s juice is often used in shampoo and is believed to kill head lice.

The Australian finger lime is a real, authentic local. It has edible fruits which are under development as a potential new commercial crop. The finger lime has been recently popularized as a gourmet bushfood and has been likened to a “lime caviar” and can be used as a garnish or added to recipes. The fruit juice is acidic and similar to that of a lime. Marmalade and pickles are also made from finger lime and the finger lime peel can be dried and used as a flavouring spice.

The lemon is a species of small evergreen tree. The tree’s yellow fruit is used for culinary and non-culinary purposes throughout the world, primarily for its juice, which has both culinary and cleaning uses. The pulp and rind (zest) are also used in cooking and baking. The juice of the lemon is about 5% to 6% citric acid, which gives a sour taste. The distinctive sour taste of lemon juice makes it a key ingredient in drinks and foods such as lemonade and lemon meringue pie. A study of the genetic origin of the lemon reported it to be hybrid betweenbitter orange (sour orange) and citron.

Lemons entered Europe near southern Italy no later than the first century AD, during the time of Ancient Rome.However, they were not widely cultivated. They were later introduced to Persia and then to Iraq and Egyptaround 700 AD. The lemon was first recorded in literature in a 10th-century Arabic treatise on farming, and was also used as an ornamental plant in early Islamic gardens. Lemons are a rich source of vitamin C, providing 64% of the Daily Value in a 100 g serving. Other essential nutrients, however, have insignificant content .

The lemonade is a hybrid citrus fruit found in Australia and New Zealand. A cross between a navel orange and a lemon, it was first cultivated in the 1980s and grows in subtropical regions of the two countries, notably Queensland in Australia and Northland in New Zealand. The fruit has a similar appearance to limes, but yellows as it ripens. The fruit is segmented, and can be eaten readily; its low-acid content gives it a sweet taste similar to the orange, but with a flavour not unlike a mild lemon.

The grapefruit is a subtropical citrus tree known for its sour to semi-sweet fruit. Grapefruit is a hybrid originating in Barbados as an accidental cross between two introduced species, sweet orange and pomelo. One story of the fruit’s origins is that a certain “Captain Shaddock” brought pomelo seeds to Jamaica and bred the first fruit, however, it probably originated as a naturally occurring hybrid.

A 100 gram serving of grapefruit is a rich source (>20% of the Daily Value, DV) of vitamin C, contains the fiber pectin, and the pink and red hues contain the beneficial antioxidantlycopene. Studies have shown grapefruit helps lower cholesterol, and there is evidence that the seeds have antioxidant properties.

*Information from local suppliers, Wikipedia and various gardening books ­čÖé