Make the most of seasonal limes.
Limes are an essential ingredient in many cuisines. Kylee Newton shares some tips for getting the most out of hot, tangy, and delicious fruit.
Limes have finally come into season and the price has dropped. Or, if you’re lucky, you may have a tree in your garden that you’ve carefully nurtured and has begun to bear the fruits of your labor.
Limes are used in many fascinating cuisines around the world, in both sweet and savory dishes. They are a wonderful ingredient to use when discovering an array of international flavors. To celebrate lime season, you can whip up all kinds of scrumptious delights, from lime sorbet and lime pie to lemonade or tangy lime dressings or mayonnaise. Think Malaysian, Indian or Mexican, for inspiration on how to add them to your culinary repertoire. I like to capture this sweet, yet sour and tart citrus in a jar to enjoy later.
Lime is often a friendly companion to the spicy flavor of chilli, so I wanted to create a lime marmalade that had that heat attached so you could gently spice up dishes when making a glaze – maybe be for grilled Malaysian prawns, to accompany your favorite Indian curry, or in a spicy lime margarita to entertain friends at a Mexican-themed dinner.
Kylee’s best advice: Don’t waste, don’t want
Instead of throwing your lime peels in the compost bin, why not make lime sugar for your cocktails in batches like my husband does. Remove as much of the marrow as possible, add the skin to a jar with half its weight in sugar, shake well and let sit for 24 hours. Strain and store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. Add to cocktails like cosmopolitans and frozen daiquiris.
Lime & Chilli Marmalade
Yields 4 to 5 jars
1 kg untreated limes
30ml lemon juice
¾-1 teaspoon chili flakes
750g white sugar or icing sugar
1. Place several small saucers in the freezer. Sterilize your jars and lids by washing and rinsing them with hot water, then place them in a hot oven at 100°C for at least 20 min.
2. Using a sharp knife, carefully remove the skins from three-quarters of the limes and cut the flesh into 5-8mm pieces, discarding the skins and seeds, pith and membrane. Slice the remaining limes lengthwise, then slice into very thin semi-circles (1-2mm) cut side down. Scrape all the cut limes into a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, large enough for the mixture to double in size, along with any juices collected on your cutting board.
3. Cover with water, add lemon juice and bring to a rapid boil. Reduce heat to simmer, stirring intermittently for about 15 minutes to soften the skins. Mix your chili flakes through the sugar.
4. Stir the chili sugar into the lime mixture until completely dissolved and bring back to a rapid boil over the highest heat. Watch the pan as it can sometimes overflow.
5. After about 10-20 minutes of rapid boiling, do a simmer test by removing the pan from the heat, removing one of the saucers from the freezer, pouring an eighth of a teaspoon over the saucer and placing it in the refrigerator. for 1 minute. Push the marmalade onto the plate with your index finger and if it creases on the surface, it’s ready to be potted. If it does not continue to boil and test every 1-2 minutes.
6. When ready, skim off the foam. Carefully remove the hot jars from the oven and quickly pour (or use a Pyrex jug to pour cleanly) into the hot jars, close (1-2mm) to the top of the rim. Wipe with a warm damp cloth and seal immediately. Store, sealed, for up to 12 months. Once opened, consume within a month and keep refrigerated.
Spicy Marmalade Margarita
For 2, double for more
100ml tequila, or mezcal for a smoked version
30ml lime juice
2 tablespoons lime and chilli marmalade
Salt, slice of lime and chili flakes, to garnish
1. Place ice in a shaker with the tequila, lime juice and marmalade, loosen with a teaspoon or two of water. Shake vigorously for 10 seconds and strain into pre-chilled cups with a salted rim. Add a thinly sliced lime float, a few chili flakes and enjoy.
Kylee Newton is a food writer and author of two cookbooks, The Modern Preserver and The Modern Preserver’s Kitchen. See his work on themodernpreserver.com and on Instagram @themodernpreserver