And why, as a native Floridian, do I not have a complete encyclopedia of all the details of all the citrus fruits, of every variety and species, engraved upon my brain? Well, I never bothered. Sorry. There's so much! And I really do not care. I like it all. Orange-like objects. Grapefruit of all kinds. Lemons, limes, tangerines, etc. I don't care. It's good and good for you. Why worry about the details? So, when I started getting these little greenish-yellow, lime-like objects locally, that were sometimes yellow like lemons, sometimes dark green... no bells rang. No light bulb appeared. I just stacked them on the counter with the rest of the citrus and used them as lemons or limes in whatever random use I happened to come up with.
Then there was today's pie. I chose this simple Key Lime Pie recipe (same link as in the first paragraph) because I like key lime pie... but I did so knowing that you really do not get key lime pie (link to pie history), if you do not use real key lime juice. You don't. It's not the same. It might be very good lime pie, but it isn't key lime pie. And what is the difference between key limes and regular ol' green limes, anyway? Basically the regular lime, the Persian, is sweeter, has a thicker and softer skin, and is less acidic. It is the very familiar green oval fruit found in most US supermarkets. Key limes are what I also knew as 'wild limes' in Florida. I remember them being small, harder, much tarter, and very yellow limes. Anyway, what happened when I made the recipe with my mysterious local citrus? When we tasted it.... it was key lime pie. I kid you not... How?!
I had to find out, so I started researching limes and found out that the local Egyptian fruit makes authentic tasting key lime pie, because it IS basically, key lime! Both are (C. aurantifolia) - they are the same variety of lime.
-- Key lime, West Indian lime, Mexican lime, kaghzi nimbu (India), Gallego lime (Brazil), limun baladi (Egypt), doc (Morocco), shirazi (Iran) (C. aurantifolia) is a variety that is referred to as the true lime. It was brought to the Americas from Asia by the Portuguese and Spanish explorers in the early 16th century and cultivated as early as 1889 in the Florida Keys. It grows well in all of the citrus-growing regions: hot semitropical, subtropical, and tropical regions, and particularly flourishes in the Caribbean and Florida. It is round to oval, very small, and harvested year round. They are so small that often as many as sixteen will make a pound (500 grams). Key emits an extremely distinctive aroma from its thin green rind, and it is quite juicy with some seeds and an acidy taste. Like the lemon, the lime became abundant in the New World soon after its introduction, particularly in the West Indies and Central America.Ok. Sure. I bet there are some minor differences due to evolution, and to the effects on the different plants in widely varying climates, etc. but this Egyptian Lime pie took my taste buds around the world and back in time. Mmm!
It was a pretty pie, and very yummy. After thinking about it, I believe I should have used a graham cracker crust... I generally am not fond of any pie crust, but graham cracker is good with this type of pie.
New recipe, new bit of horticultural knowledge - don't say I never gave ya nothin'!