We know the citrus heavy hitters: oranges, lemons, and limes, with a cameo from grapefruit, but did you know an entire world of citrus exists outside of these classics?
Finger limes are small limes that receive their name from their appearance — they’re long and slender, and typically only reach 3” in length. These tiny beauties come in a rainbow of colors, and as if that wasn’t exciting enough… just wait until you open one! Unlike most citrus pulp that is shaped like teardrops, finger lime pulp is shaped like tiny pearl-like orbs. Their pulp can be easily extracted by squeezing the end of the lime. These little balls are commonly referred to as “lime caviar,” and they taste great when placed atop oysters, sushi, avocado toast, and so much more. Finger lime pulp adds a zesty, tart pop of lime flavor to any dish.
Buddha’s Hand Lemon
The Buddha’s Hand Lemon, often referred to as “the fingered citron,” will have you asking whether it is a fruit or an alien. It may not be the most attractive citrus specimen around, but the Buddha’s Hand Lemon is different from most other citrus fruits. This citrus fruit is not popular for its flesh, as it contains little to no fruit juice. The treasure, instead, is found in its aromatic rind. Buddha’s Hand Lemons make an incredible potpourri, and the rind can be candied, sliced to top salads, or even grated to add a citrus kick to desserts, sauces, or marinades.
The calamondin tree is a cold-hardy, drought-tolerant citrus tree that bears small yellow-orange fruits (normally around 1” diameter.) These small fruits look somewhat similar to a tangerine, but they are much more tart. Their flesh is sour, but their rinds are sweet, so calamondin marmalade (made just like orange marmalade) is a popular calamondin recipe.
Tiny, bright, fun kumquats! To eat them, you just pop them in your mouth, skin and all! They have a very thin rind that is sweet, however, their flesh is very tart. Conveniently, like many other citrus fruits, kumquats can be grown in containers, and they turn a bright, vibrant orange when ripe. After harvest, these fruits can be used for a kumquat marmalade, sliced and candied, preserved in a syrup, and so much more.
When you think lime, you think green, right? Well, think again! These crimson fruits are here to change everything you think you know about limes! The blood lime is a hybrid between the finger lime (previously mentioned) and a mandarin. These unique limes combine the tart acidity of a lime with the sweetness of a mandarin — a win, win in our book! The blood lime’s pulp is similar to that of the finger lime, and its pulp can be squeezed out to top many dishes, adding a sweet-tart surprise to seafood, desserts, and cocktails!