Like vanilla in each cake, a touch of lemon or lime juice in all other dishes is considered very flavor enhancing.
Limes, in our culture, were pretty much intertwined with lemons in their use until a few years ago. However, this started to change in the U.S. when we found wedges of lime with Corona beer. This was the start of Mexican and Latin American influence on us in favor of limes for certain definite purposes.
Lime, both its juice and grated rind (zest), is also essential in Indian cuisine where they make sweetened lime pickle, salted pickle, and lime chutney. Many Mexican, Vietnamese and Thai dishes call for lime juice. This juice “almost cooks” fish in the making of Ceviche. Lime leaves are used frequently in certain parts of Asia.
Early British sailors acquired the nickname of “Limey” for the limes they’d eat aboard ship at sea to prevent scurvy. However, limes probably originated in Southeast Asia, and the Arabs brought them back from there and introduced them to the Egyptians and other North Africans around the 10th century who spread them to Spain, hence across Europe. Columbus saw to it limes made their way to the New World and around the Caribbean. Continue reading →
My mother, the first liberal feminist I ever knew, told everyone, “A little bit of lemon juice makes everything taste better.” I didn’t live too many years before I found this to be very true.
Lemons work wonders! Their juice or rind livens up fruit beverages, teas, cocktails, seafood, adds snap to baked goods and tenderizes meats! It even keeps sensitive foods from oxidizing, is a dieter’s salad dressing delight, makes a pretty garnish, substitutes for salt, becomes its own “herb” and gives vinegar a run for its money when it comes to pleasing tartness. The Moroccans brine them whole.
Like most of our foods, lemons were first developed in China or India 2,500 years ago. Arab traders brought them to Europe, then to Spain and on to North Africa. Crusaders also discovered them in Palestine and helped spread them across northern Europe. And, lemons were something else Chris Columbus brought along to America. He did this on his second trip in 1493. Continue reading →