While smaller in size and more intense in flavour, desert lime is an extremely versatile fruit, used in any product or process where regular limes or lemons are used. Lacking a peel, desert lime has a very thin, almost tasteless rind and is often seedless meaning it can be used whole in cooking. Grown in dry, inland parts of the country, the fruit is ripe when the colour changes from green to yellow, although it can be picked when still green. It flowers mainly in spring and fruits ripen in early summer, when it is harvested by hand.
The trees have adapted to the desert climate, with desert limes flower-to-fruiting time the shortest of any citrus species in the world, taking only 10 to 12 weeks.
Desert limes were eaten whole by Aboriginal 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. Today, desert limes are used in jams and preserves, cordial and cider, and also as a powder in herb and spice mixes.
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