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5 A Day

Fruit of the month: Lime          Send a link to a friend

[MAY 30, 2006]  ATLANTA, Ga. -- Limes may be most famous for their historical benefits to sailors. Limes are packed with vitamin C and were eaten on ships to prevent scurvy, a disease caused by that vitamin deficiency. In the 18th century, all British naval ships assigned to long journeys were required to carry limes. The nickname "limeys" for British sailors has continued to this day.

Limes were originally grown on the Indian subcontinent and were popularized in Europe about the time of the Crusades. In the United States, limes were established in what is now named Florida by the 16th century. Today limes are grown in Florida, the Southwest and California.

Nutrition information

A serving size is one medium raw lime, 67 grams.

Amounts per serving

% daily value*

Calories, 20


Total fat, 0 g


Sodium, 0.75 mg


Potassium, 75 mg


Total carbohydrate, 7 g


Dietary fiber, 2 g


Sugars, less than 1g


Protein, less than 1g


Vitamin A


Vitamin C






* Percent daily values are based on a 2,000-calorie diet.

** Contains less than 2 percent of the daily value of these nutrients.


Select limes that are glossy and light to deep green in color. Limes should have a thin, smooth skin and be heavy for their size. Small brown areas on the skin should not affect flavor, but large blemishes or soft spots indicate a damaged lime. Ripe limes are firm but not hard. Avoid limes that have a yellowish skin or are too small. A hard, shriveled skin is a sign of dryness, as is a coarse thick skin. Limes are available year-round in most supermarkets.


Limes may be stored at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to three weeks. Limes store better in a plastic bag if placed in the refrigerator, and those stored at room temperature will yield more juice. Take care to keep limes out of direct sunlight, as they will shrivel and become discolored.


The majority of limes are part of the Tahitian strain, believed to have originated in Tahiti. There are two common varieties of that strain: Persian and Bearss. The Persion is egg-shaped and contains seeds. The Bearss is smaller and seedless. Key limes are smaller and rounder than the Tahitian strain and have a higher acid content. These limes are mostly used in baking.


Wash well before using, even if you are using only the juice. Limes are usually eaten raw but may be included in baked or grilled dishes. Many recipes call for fresh lime juice. To juice by hand, roll the lime on a firm surface before squeezing out the juice.

Limes are also often used as garnish. Simply slice the lime in half and slice into several sections. Limes or lime juice are a great salt substitute and add a tangy flavor.

Make limes part of your 5 A Day plan

  • Marinate fish in lime juice for a great flavor and serve topped with lime slices.

  • Make limeade instead of the usual lemonade for a fruity, summery treat.

  • Include lime in your citrus sorbet for a change.

  • Add thick slices of lime to make tangy summer kebabs on the grill.

  • Garnish a fruit plate or salad with limes to add color.

  • Use in tea as you would a lemon.


Lime shrimp kebabs

Makes two servings; each equals two 5 A Day servings.


16 large shrimp, uncooked, deveined
3 large limes
2 cloves garlic, crushed and peeled
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, cleaned and chopped
10 medium cherry tomatoes, rinsed and dried
10 small white-button mushrooms, wiped clean and stems removed

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In a glass measuring cup, squeeze limes, yielding 1/4 cup of juice. Add the garlic, pepper, olive oil and cilantro; stir. Place shrimp in a medium bowl and pour the cilantro lime marinade over the shrimp. Let the shrimp marinate for 10 to 15 minutes in the refrigerator (do not let them marinate for more than 30 minutes as the acid of the juice will alter the texture of the shrimp). While waiting, alternate cherry tomatoes, mushrooms and shrimp on four skewers.

Grill the skewers over medium heat for three to four minutes on each side until the shrimp are just cooked through.

Nutritional information per serving: calories, 190; protein, 18 g; fat, 7 g; calories from fat, 28 percent, cholesterol, 85 mg; carbohydrates, 20 g; fiber, 5 g; sodium, 116 mg

Black bean soup with lime and cumin

Makes six servings; each equal to one 5 A Day serving.


4 cups cooked black beans
1 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoons cumin
1 cup chopped onions
1 cup sliced carrots
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
4 cups vegetable stock
1/4 cup chopped chipotle chiles (or green chiles)
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons lime juice

Heat olive oil in a nonstick or heavy-bottomed frying pan over medium heat. When hot, add whole cumin and brown it. Take caution not to burn it. Add chopped onions, carrots, garlic and bell pepper; cook slowly until browned. Puree the beans with 4 cups stock in a blender or food processor. Add the vegetable mixture, chipotle chiles, 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons lime juice and salt to taste. Process until velvety smooth. If the soup is too thick, thin it with more stock. Garnish each serving with a slice of lime floating in the middle and a sprinkling of finely chopped cilantro.

Nutritional information per serving: calories, 255; protein, 14 g; fat, 3 g; calories from fat, 11 percent; cholesterol, 0 mg; carbohydrates, 45 g; fiber, 14 g; sodium, 36 mg

Lime and honeydew punch

Makes four servings; each equals one 5 A Day serving.


1 small honeydew melon
1/2 cup seedless red grapes
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
3 tablespoons sugar
2 cups sparkling water

Cut melon in half, scoop out seeds, peel and cut into 1-inch cubes. Wash grapes well and remove stems. Freeze melon and grapes for one hour. Combine frozen melon and grapes with lime juice and sugar in a blender. Puree until smooth, adding water as needed. Serve immediately.

Nutrition information per serving: calories, 171; protein, 2 g; fat, 0 g; calories from fat, 2 percent; cholesterol, 0 mg; carbohydrates, 45 g; fiber, 2 g; sodium, 34 mg

Pineapple limeade

Makes four servings; each equals one 5 A Day serving.


1 medium pineapple, peeled
2 medium limes, peeled and seeded
2 tablespoons sugar
3 cups club soda or sparkling water

Extract juice from the pineapple and limes, using a juicer or juice extractor. Mix juices and sugar; refrigerate until chilled. Just before serving, stir in the club soda or sparkling water and serve over ice. Garnish with lime slices if desired.

Nutrition information per serving: calories, 92; protein, 1 g; fat 1 g; calories from fat, 5 percent; cholesterol, 0 mg; carbohydrates, 24 g; fiber, 2 g; sodium, 39 mg

[Centers for Disease Control and Prevention]



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