Do you want the flavorful pop of fish eggs without any of the guilt? Then finger limes may be the answer.
The finger lime is a small, sausage-shaped citrus that comes in an assortment of colors, including red, yellow, brown, green, and black. The best way to open one of these fruits is to slice at its center and then squeeze one of the halves. When you apply pressure, little balls of pulp will spill out. These tiny juice bubbles easily separate from one another and pop when chewed, releasing a pleasant splash of flavor with each bite. This unusual texture has earned the fruit the nickname “citrus caviar.”
Finger limes taste very similar to regular limes, but with less sourness. There is quite a bit of flavor variation depending on a tree’s growing conditions, and inferior varieties may carry a slight taste of dish detergent. Thankfully, any soapy flavor is typically lost when combined with other ingredients.
The fruit is native to the subtropical Australian states of Queensland and New South Wales, where indigenous people have foraged the citrus as both food and medicine for thousands of years. Over the past few decades, however, finger limes have become popular in kitchens around the world. They can serve as a colorful and tasty topping on pancakes, sushi, oysters, desserts, and cocktails. Cooking the pulp can diminish their texture, so it’s best to use them to garnish food after it’s already made.
Need to Know
Finger limes are available at markets across Australia. In subtropical regions of the United States, the fruit is becoming popular in backyard gardens and on small farms, especially around Los Angeles, California. For everyone else, these fruits have a decent shelf life, so you can order them online from companies such as Shanley Farms and Good Land Organics in the United States or Lime Caviar in Australia.
Where to Try It
Santa Monica Farmers MarketArizona Ave at 2nd Street, Santa Monica, California, 90401, United States
This market, located on Arizona Avenue on Wednesdays and Saturdays, features lots of local produce.