WHAT IS KEY LIME?
Key lime is popular variety of lime, a hybrid of some of the most ancient citrus fruits, mainly the citron, mandarin, orange and pomelo. It is also famously known for being the ‘Key’ to the Key Lime Pie! Key limes originated in Southeast Asia and were brought over by Spanish explorers to Florida, where they were naturalised. The tropical islands of Florida Keys gave this little yellow lime its name, and also gave the world the Key Lime Pie.
DIFFERENCES BETWEEN KEY LIME AND REGULAR LIME
The most commonly found limes are often the Persian lime variety, and there’s more than meets the eye when it comes to the differences between these and key limes. Can you spot a key lime from a Persian lime? Here are some things to look out for:
- firstly the size: key limes are smaller than regular – Persian – limes
- the rind: key limes have a thin, leathery skin that is yellow when ripe
- flavour profile: key limes have a bolder, slightly herbal-floral aroma, and are more acidic than Persian limes
- the inside: key limes have more seeds than regular limes
THE AUTHENTIC KEY LIME PIE RECIPE
This popular Southern dessert from the United States is known to have been around for more than 100 years! Ubiquitous in diners and restaurants all over Key West in Florida, the Key Lime Pie was made the official pie of Florida State in 2006. The main debates over authenticity of the recipe are usually between: fresh cream vs condensed milk, meringue topping vs whipped cream, and pastry pie crust vs graham cookie crust.
So what is the true, authentic key lime recipe? Food historians tend to agree that it is the recipe that was founded by the sponge divers of the Key West area, and for all the key lime pie lovers out there it will be comforting to know that the sponge divers liked their pie simple. Their pies were made with local key limes, condensed milk and eggs – three non-perishable ingredients that they always had with them on their fishing boats.