Finger Limes – Recipes with the Australian Native

By February 21, 2010 Ingredients, Recipes 12 Comments
Finger Limes

Australian Native Finger Limes

Isn’t it wonderful when you discover something new? A new restaurant, an exciting recipe, a passion for pottery making, a hidden ability for fatherhood (I hope)? Three years ago, I discovered a whole new ingredient: a finger lime. Wandering in the Leichhardt organic markets, researching a 100 mile food store that never eventuated, I saw the interesting fruit at one of the farmers’ stalls. It was grown locally by the farmer and they had a small amount for sale. I bought a few to test them out and I fell in love with them. I was at the markets yesterday when I decided to write something about finger limes. I bought 3 for $2.00.

Smoked Salmon and Goat Cheese on Rye with Finger Limes

Smoked Salmon and Goat Cheese on Rye with Finger Limes

I have to say, my botanical knowledge with the finger lime does not extend past Wikipedia, but since when has it been necessary to be an expert on a subject to enjoy it? Finger limes (citrus australasica) are Australian natives that grow along the coastal border of New South Wales and Queensland. The ones I have are 7 cm long, green hued, slightly curved and are filled with wonderful little caviar shaped balls (called vesicles) that burst in your mouth with a tropical lime flavour. Their use is limited to your imagination, but they are so texturally interesting that they should be used uncooked (some make marmalade). Think oysters with finger limes, or micro salads with finger limes… The picture above shows my suggestion, smoked salmon and goat cheese on rye, topped with finger limes. Might sound like strange combination of cheese and citrus, but it works nicely. I’ve read that the dried peel can be turned into a spice, but have never tried. You can find finger limes at the Leichhardt Organic Markets Orange Grove Public School, Cnr Perry Street and Balmain Road.

12 Comments

  • Ooh, these look really interesting.
    I actually saw something on tv today about finger limes.
    I think I may have to find some and try them.

  • I LOVE finger limes. I first heard about them years ago when I lived on the farm and I expected them to explode onto the market. But they’ve stayed relatively hard to find, even on the north coast where they grow easily (and are from, I think). It could be due to the ridiculously huge spikes that cover the branches making harvesting dangerous – I know this is one reason why my Dad doesn’t grow them. (check it out: http://sapientae.net.au/ea/photos/Sept05/Sept05-Pages/Image0.html )
    Regardless, they are so delicious and pretty too. They come in a range of colours from pink through yellow to green. Oh now I want finger limes not this lame green mango!

  • I love that photo; it looks totally like something out of former Gourmet magazine! These finger limes are too unique, plus you get a caviar looking thing inside! Wow! we should grow them in Lebanon

  • Fouad says:

    Kristy – They are great. What were they saying on TV?

    Lili – Thanks for sharing. They do look thorny, but that never stopped us from harvesting blackberries… Strange that they haven’t taken off really. I was like you when I saw them, thinking the market would go nuts!

    Joumana – Thanks! My photo skills are improving! I’m not sure how popular they would be in Lebanon, since even here they are hard to find.

  • It looks yummy…i think its taste great

  • Dude! These are awesome! Thanks for sharing this post (as this is the first time I’ve heard of these finger limes). Give me some oysters and top them up with these; beautiful!

  • liz@zested says:

    Like lime caviar – this is so cool!
    .-= liz@zestedĀ“s last blog ..Roast Kale Salad with Egg and Lemon Anchovy Vinaigrette =-.

  • Kerry Chadwick says:

    Hi Fouad and blogger friends,

    I have not tried finger limes as yet but if ever you find yourself visiting the Gold Coast, where I live, you must visit Avocado World. I was listening to an interview the other day about the various plants they have and sure enough, they have finger limes and also the plants. They mentioned many other exotic fruits which I am sure you could create a great dish Fouad.

  • Fouad says:

    Hi Kerry

    Thanks for the tip and for taking the time to leave a comment. I’ll certainly visit next time I’m in the Gold Coast. I love finding out about new fruit! I’ve been introduced to some crazy Brazilian fruit recently. Amazing!

    Fouad

  • Rebecca says:

    Hi Finger Lime lovers, we are growers and suppliers of the fruit on the north coast of NSW. I sell them at the local farmer’s markets, make a wicked cordial and marmalade (gold medal winner at the Sudney Royal….). You can buy our products online,but fresh fruit is dwindling as the season comes to a close. Without a doubt these are the best limes on the world!

  • Rhonda Genge says:

    We have four finger lime trees,and have had a bumper crop on the older tree this year.
    Have taken them to a market in Coffs Harbour and people don’t know anything about them.Am now downloading recipes to try myself.

  • adrian says:

    I am making some jam tomorrow native lime and lilly pilly from the garden will check in the morning who wants some inner west sydney.

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