Finger limes (also known as Citrus Australasica) are found growing on small trees in the rainforests in southeast Queensland and northern New South Wales. The small fruits were originally used by Indigenous tribes as a food source; the limes were foraged in tropical jungles for their tangy pulp. The pearls were also used for medicinal purposes to ward off sickness and were applied topically as an antiseptic.
The fruit of a rare rainforest tree, the finger lime has been a valuable source of food and medicine for Indigenous Australians for thousands of years. The fruit was eaten for its delicious taste and its ability to ward off disease, while the pulp and juice of finger limes were applied as an antiseptic to infected sores and boils.
When European settlers cleared the bush for farming, many of the finger lime trees were destroyed. Fortunately, the tree survives in several isolated pockets of sub-tropical rainforest on private land and in national parks. Currently these are the only wild sources of finger limes in the world.
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Finger limes have a refreshing, sharp, sour flavour, with sweet botanical citrus notes, similar to lemongrass herb.
Slightly astringent and tart on the front palate, with refreshingly bright, herbaceous citrus undertones, and mildly sweet, slightly sour notes.
Aromatic with a fresh, zesty citrus and slightly minty scent.
Their popularity with chefs has increased globally in recent years, and the caviar-like pearls are often used as a natural flavour enhancer or garnish, for both savoury and sweet dishes.
With its refreshing citrus flavour, fresh finger lime fruit and freeze-dried powder is ideal for use in dressings, aioli, savoury and sweet sauces, marmalades and jams.
The lime complements seafood dishes and works particularly well with freshly shucked oysters and as a substitute for lemongrass in many Asian dishes. It pairs well with watermelon, honeydew and rockmelon, mango, persimmon, avocado, leafy greens, chilli, ginger, rice and poultry, and complements most mild cheeses.
Freeze-dried finger lime powder is an ideal ingredient for use in cheesecakes, ice cream, sorbet, biscuits, sponge cake, muffins, sweet flavoured breads, and to add a refreshing taste to dukkah.
It adds a refreshing, aromatic twist to cocktails and spirits such as mojitos, margaritas, martinis – – almost anything using gin or vodka. The lime also adds a refreshing twist to soda, tonic and mineral waters, cordials and lemonade.
Click here for delicious Finger Lime recipes.