The Australian Desert Lime is small with an intense, piquant flavour. It is the flavour which continues to draw the attention and admiration of food enthusiasts.
Desert limes are an extremely versatile fruit. They can be used in any product or process where ‘normal’ limes or lemons are used, the main difference being their small size, lack of peel and more intense flavour. Desert limes require no peeling or preparation. They have the valuable attribute of freezing down without losing flavour or presentation characteristics when thawed later for use.
The fruit has been analysed as a very healthy food source, having three times the amount of Vitamin C compared to oranges. They were eaten by aborigines and have been used by generations of Australian outback people to make cordials, sauces, garnishes marmalades, pickles and chutneys. Thirsty stockmen eat the fruit straight from the trees while mustering as a thirst quencher, but it is said that it is difficult to simultaneously eat desert limes and smile!
Australian Desert Limes are from a tree species of true citrus
which is native to Australia - eremocitrus glauca. These trees evolved
and occur naturally across western Queensland, particularly around
the Roma district of the south-west.
Desert Lime trees exhibit many desert adaptation characteristics.
They are the quickest citrus tree species in the world to set fruit
after flowering. They protect themselves against grazing animals
by sharp thorns, however, after growing above browse height of large
kangaroos the trees grow no more thorns.
There is a very strong rise in awareness and appreciation of the
Australian outback both here and internationally. Cuisine and product
lines that incorporate the great bushfood tastes such as Australian
Desert Limes are adding interest and customer appeal to menus and
are exciting palates. The versatility of this fruit, its characteristics
and its outback origins allow it to fill this role admirably.