Limes (of the family Rutaceae), native to the East Indian Archipelago, are the least cold hardy of the citrus fruits and are grown in tropical areas throughout the world. Three lime species are recognized: the small-fruited Citrus aurantifolia, the large-fruited C. latifolia, and the sweet lime, C. limettoides. Limes are often described by their area of production. The most popular small-fruited type is called the West Indian, Mexican, or Key lime. The large-fruited types are called Tahitian or Bearss and are grown in Australia, Brazil, California, and Florida. The Indian type is the favorite sweet lime and is grown in India and Pakistan. U.S. production of limes in 1992 was estimated at 1.6 million boxes (3).

Limes are very acidic and are seldom eaten fresh. They are much in demand as a flavorant for other products such as juices, jams, jellies, baked goods, and alcoholic beverages. British sailors became known as limeys because they were fed limes for the prevention of scurvy. Despite this folklore, limes, at 37 mg/100 g, have less vitamin C than lemons (2).

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