What can I use Finger Limes for ?
Finger limes are great in salads, deserts, ice cream, panacotta and as a garnish for seafood such as oysters and fish.
What about drinks?
Although there have been many recommendations for using them in Gin and Tonic, Rum Punches Cocktails and many more they are not a substitute for normal lime (tahitian) juice.
The fresh citrus flavour of finger limes is released only when the juice bubbles burst upon biting or crunching.However both the flavour and texture of finger limes works perfectly with lime juice.
Pink beads have the same taste as green.
How long will they stay fresh?
Finger limes are best picked in the morning and should not be picked in after heavy rain or wet periods
They should not have blemishes such as insect damage (citrus bugs) or ruptured skin or be soft on the ends.
If the fruit has not been sprayed (with Copper) for moulds then be assured it will not last long and start showing blue green moulds with in a week.
Finger Limes Fresh washes the fruit direct from picking in Hypochlorite solution, which is then dried and waxed with canoubia wax. The waxing reduces up to 30% the loss of water content.
The fruit is then packed into box 1 kg cartons and stored in cool rooms at 5C before shipping or blast freezing.
Our finger limes have been shown to last a minimum of 2 weeks at 25C or 1 month in fridge at 5C under these conditions.
If frozen they will last many months. However thawed frozen finger limes are no substitute for fresh!
How do I know if I have a fresh finger lime?
OK – So you know how a bean snaps when fresh ? When it is immature or old it bends but does not snap easily?
Well same applies to finger limes, In addition if you cut a finger lime in half it should ooze the beads out with out forcing them. This does not happen with frozen or old limes.
The Brix value (8 – 11) of a ripe optimal ripe finger lime is also a good indicator. High is rotten , low is green.
Green finger limes also have a bitter astringent taste. However some varieties are naturally like this.
* What about Blemishes on the skin of the finger lime?*
Finger limes grow on a very thorny shrub. In windy conditions these thorns rub the skin causing lesions.
Light damage is not an issue alhough Fingerlimes Fresh classes these as ‘second grade’.
Other more serious blemishes are ‘stings’ from fruit fly and citrus bugs’ . This is caused by these insects injecting eggs into the fruit. The fruit shows a small ( but increasing in size with age ) discolouration caused by rind breakdown from natural as well as bacterial effect. It may totally rupture the fruit causing beads to burst out causing more rot.
There are some other problems such as end collar rot which can be minamised with copper spaying.
Lastly the effects of citrus bud mite which causes large areas of the fruit to be irritated (opposite the sun) and produce a sandpaper look. Not to be confused with sunburn ??
Controlled by sulphur sprays.
What varieties of finger limes do you sell?
There is a lot of confusion, duplication and misinformation regarding finger lime varieties. Almost all finger limes currently being grown are direct from native sources. They have not been bred.
Confusingly, many varieties of finger limes are known by several names.
To provide clarity, Finger Limes Fresh has developed a classification system that identifies (reasonably well) the over 40 varieties of finger limes that we grow on our plantation.
GPM – Green skin pink Flesh Medium size
GPL – Green skin Pink Flesh Large fruit (> 20g)
GEM – Green skin Emerald green flesh Medium Size
Do you sell finger lime trees ?
Yes we have a large nursery – primarily for our own use. We currently have 10,000 trees planted.
We provide cuttings and grafted stock. The plants take from 1 – 2 years before suitable for planting and another 2 years to yield from 5 to 10kg of fruit per tree. We do not sell individual trees. Propagation is to order only and a 20% deposit is required.
What is the advantage / disadvantage of cuttings vs grafts?
Grafts have traditionally been used in the Citrus industry (Trifoliata and Citranger root stock) mainly to facilitate planting in a wide range of soil conditions.
In our experience cuttings, in our location,are just as vigorous, and yields as high or greater than grafted trees.
There are many reasons – local soil conditions that are native to finger limes and that Trifoliata/Citranger may not necessarily be the best root stock. There is also research that shows that some root stock varieties do not always give the correct nutrition uptake as others for specific grafted species. Meyer lemon is a good example. The deep root system of a traditional citrus rrot stock is not providing the same nutrition as a shallow (top 30cm) rain forest derived naturally occuring plant would have acclimatised to.
Why? Because Finger limes grow well from cuttings and you can produce 50 cuttings in the same time as a graft takes.
There is another more obvious reason. Grafting does not require the capital intensive structure that misting tunnels and long strike periods ( 3 months) require. Grafted trees can be held in the nursery before or longer periods sale.
The higher cost of grafts reflects the many steps and high labour cost.
What causes the colours in Finger limes
The colour of the rind (skin) has no relationship to the flesh. Green skin can have pink flesh and pink skin maybe pink flesh.
You may have come across Blood Red Oranges and Grapefruit. Same applies , orange skin – red flesh!
If you read all the related comments there is some fact and a lot of myth.
Pink in Fingerl imes (and the purple) is from anthocyanins.
The Emerald greens are Xanthocyanins.
The cyanins develop as the fruit sugar content increase. The ambient temperature, number of heat days and low chill days, pH of soil etc etc all impact.
If you have owned a blood red navelle orange you may understand.
Some areas of Italy promote as the only true (consistent) place of ‘Blood Red’ due to unique combinations of the above.
However it seems to be just marketing.
In some varieties (cloned cuttings) at the same time of the year and maturity of fruit their will have different expressions of cyanin intensity. Some are more uniform – but not many.