When I was in pre-school and kindergarten, my mom was “Chef Combo.” Once a month, she would come to my class and the “Chef” (a puppet) would introduce our class to basics of nutrition and new foods. This was always fun for all of my classmates, and as a result it made me very popular.
That early experience is part of what feeds my adventurous spirit with food even today. I will try anything, and like nothing better than discovering new ingredients. In fact, if you give me an ethnic market (of any ethnicity) I will inevitably emerge with new treasures for my kitchen.
Today’s find actually comes from my local grocery store, which stocks a very fine selection of produce. When things come into season, they will bring in fruits and vegetables that they don’t normally stock. This week they had bags of “Sweet Limes” for 99 cents a bag. I had never seen or heard of a sweet lime, but their delightful roundness and lovely pale yellow color with just a blush of green drew my attention. Plus, at that price I would buy just about anything.
As soon as I got home I called my husband into the kitchen.
“Look what I found!” I exclaimed as I thrust the red-mesh bag of pale yellow limes into his hands, “sweet limes.”
“Are they any good?” He was clearly less excited with my find than I was.
“I have no idea, but lets try them.” I was already pulling out a knife and the cutting board.
The limes have beautiful translucent pale yellow flesh and a lovely floral aroma that releases as soon as the knife breaks through the thin peel. They are lightly sweet with very little acidity. As a result, they don’t seem to have a lot of flavor, just a faint impression of citrus blossom and a slightly less pleasant astringent aftertaste that reminded me of the artificial citrus smell that they put in cleaning products. All in all, I was not overly impressed with the sweet limes, and I’ve had a hard time coming up with something to do with them that wouldn’t be better with a lemon, lime, orange, blood orange, or tangerine, all of which have more interesting flavors and more robust characters for cooking.
That being said, these limes are beautiful, so I took the opportunity to learn more about food photography by taking pictures of them.
They do have very delicate skin with very little pith, so I am considering candying the rind, in hopes of catching that lovely floral character.