How to cook with limes
I primarily keep limes on hand for the juice and zest, which add brightness to recipes that I feel have something missing. Key limes are good for desserts (obviously, the key lime pie). Occasionally I will sear limes when I’m grilling or sauteeing other vegetables.. Just use caution, as limes can react with cast-iron skillets that haven’t been seasoned, well enough causing a color/flavor issue.
How to buy limes
Look for limes void of blemishes, cuts, brown spots, and soft spots. They should have a glossy sheen, a deep green color, and give just slightly when pressed.
How to store limes
Store limes in the refrigerator crisper for up to a month, or at room temperature for about a week. If storing in the refrigerator, remove the limes from the refrigerator a couple hours before using.
For cooking, there are three main kinds of limes I use: Persian, Key, and Kaffir. Persian limes, a cross between key limes and lemons, are typically what is sold in stores. Key limes are smaller, but pack a more intense flavor and tend to be juicier. Kaffir limes are less about the lime and more about the leaves, primarily used in Thai cooking.
Limes are picked slightly unripened. When left to ripen, they turn yellow and no longer have the lime flavor we know and love. I like lime juice to brighten up Mexican/Latin food I make, and of course, margaritas. I also like to add it to seasonal citrus curds. In a pinch, I’ll swap lime juice for lemon juice (and vice versa). Lime juice has a bit punchier of a flavor, so I tend to use a bit less.
During lime season, I will zest and juice limes to freeze in ice cube trays. Lime juice will last for a few months in the freezer and can be a lifesaver after the season has ended.