Finger Lime

 Citrus australasica

Citrus australasica

 
 

Common name

Finger Lime

traditional use

Finger lime grows naturally in sub-tropical rainforest along the border of south-east Queensland and New South Wales, and is one of the traditional foods of Aboriginal communities in these regions

part used

Finger lime pulp is unique with separate juice vesicles that resemble caviar. Sometimes referred to as crystals, these are compressed inside the fruit and burst out when the fruit is opened. The attractive colours and caviar-like appearance make finger lime popular as a garnish, while its taste also sees it used in restaurants in seafood dishes and desserts, paired with Asian food or added to salads. It is also used in dressings, jams and sauces, cordials and cocktails and can substitute wherever ordinary lemon or lime is used. Dried ground finger lime is also used in dukkah.

seasonality

Grafted finger lime trees begin producing fruit in the third year, but quantities remain limited until the fifth or sixth year, when they can produce up to 20 kilograms. Trees generally only bear fruit every second year, although this can depend on climatic conditions and cultivar. This also has an impact on when different varieties mature, although this is generally between December and June. Fruit is selectively picked every 10 days, by hand as finger lime is very delicate and susceptible to skin damage. Around 50 per cent of the harvest ends up as second grade or processing fruit. Fruit needs to be ripe when picked, as it does not ripen off the tree, cannot be picked when wet and the field heat needs to be removed as soon as possible.

flavour profile

A refreshing citrus, lime flavour.

uses

Fresh finger lime is used as a garnish and anywhere that fresh lemon or lime might be used. It is also used in a range of pharmaceutical and nutraceutical products.