The lime (Citrus Latifolia) was introduced to the world sometime before the sixteenth century, although its origins are very different depending on the type. Arabs brought Key limes through north Africa and into Europe. Later, explores from Spain and Portugal brought the fruit to American in the early 1500s where it became a commercial commodity by the late 1800s. Although person limes originated in South Asia, this variety of lime was dubbed the “Tahiti” lime in the mid-1800s when it was imported to the Unite States from Tahiti and began to be grown in Florida and California.
Prized for its taste and usefulness in seasoning and cooking, the lime is also used medicinally to sooth mosquito bites, coral stings, and some oral irritations. With their high Vitamin C content, limes were used int eh nineteenth century to prevent scurvy.
The commercial lime industry ended in the United States by the beginning of the twenty-first century due to problems with pests and disease such as citrus canker. While many countries grow limes for their own domestic consumption, Mexico and Brazil are the worlds’ major exporters.
Season Availability: All year!
References: Agricultural Marketing Resource Center, Purdue University Center for New Crops & Plants Products, University of Florida IFAS Extension, USDA, Western Growers Association.