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What is a Palestine Sweet Lime?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 31 July 2014
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The Palestine sweet lime is a lime varietal that is extremely low in acid. The name “sweet lime” is actually a bit of a misnomer, because the fruit doesn't really have much flavor at all, let alone sweetness. This extremely mild lime is used in some Middle Eastern and Asian cooking, and some people like to use it to make delicately flavored beverages.

You may also hear the Palestine sweet lime referred to as the Indian sweet lime. When ripe, it has yellow skin and flesh, and it may be ovoid to spherical, with lightly ribbed skin. The skin contains a number of aromatic oils, and the flesh has few seeds. Some people describe the flavor of this lime as “bland” or “insipid,” which is perhaps a bit strong; “subtle” might be a better way to describe it.

These limes may be squeezed for juice, or grated for zest in various recipes. The zest can be added to baked goods or included in various curries and other dishes, and the juice can be used in a variety of ways. Some cooks also candy the skin for use in various recipes. Because the lime lacks acidity, the juice cannot be used as a preservative in the same way that other lemon and lime juices can be, which is something to keep in mind.

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This cultivar also happens to be extremely hardy. As a result, many citrus growers use the plant as rootstock, grafting more delicate citrus varieties onto an established trunk. This practice allows citrus growers to grow more fragile citrus varieties in cooler places, harnessing the hardiness of the Palestine sweet lime's roots and trunk.

Like other citrus trees, the Palestine sweet lime can also make a pleasing ornamental. The trees produce aromatic white flowers, which can make a garden or a courtyard very pleasant, and the dark green leaves can be an attractive sight. People who wish to grow the plant as an ornamental can prune the tree to shape it, and the limes produced can be discarded or used in cooking, depending on personal choice.

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