I have a 5 year-old Tahitian Lime tree in my Mudgee garden. It’s grown really well- the frost doesn’t bother it. I keep it neatly pruned. It crops from summer to autumn.
Tahitian Lime tree in my Mudgee garden
My tree is growing in part shade but would probably prefer a more sunny spot. The fruits grow up to 6cm in diameter if left on the tree until they begin to develop a yellowing of the skin. They can also be harvested when smaller and green all over. They have an incredibly intense flavour- possibly the result of our harsh climatic conditions-much more flavoursome than the limes sold in supermarkets.
The first few years my crop was a bit light on, and my garden guru Dave advised me to give the tree a bit less TLC- apparently they fruit better when stressed. So I cut back on the feeding this year and got double the amount of fruit.
I like to slice the excess limes into wedges and freeze them. Then I pop them into my gin and tonic for an icy lime burst. They’re so intensely flavoured, only a very thin wedge is required. Limes can also be frozen whole or halved, then thawed and juiced or the skin grated, as for a fresh lime, for use in cooking.
This year I made lime marmalade by the traditional method and it’s the best I’ve ever tasted. No setting agent, just fruit, water and sugar. Four limes made 6 jars of marmalade.
Then I found a recipe for Lime Marmalade Muffins. They’re very easy to make and taste sensational!
Here are my recipes for Old School Lime Marmalade, and Lime Marmalade Muffins, at the bottom of this post.
Old-School Lime Marmalade
Slice 4-6 limes very thinly (I use a food processor on the thinnest slicing blade). Put the slices, with 2 cups of water to each lime used, into a large stainless steel saucepan and stand overnight. Next morning, boil the water and limes until the skins are thoroughly soft. Remove from the heat and add 450 grams of warmed sugar to every 2 limes (warm it in the oven on a low setting while the limes are boiling). Stir until the sugar is thoroughly dissolved then return the saucepan to the stove and boil quickly until it jellies when tested (*see below how to do this test). Remove from heat immediately to prevent over-cooking. Cool the marmalade and then bottle in sterilised jars with tight fitting lids.
*To check whether jams have jellied, keep a saucer in the fridge. From time to time during the cooking process, place a teaspoon full of the jam on the saucer and return it to the fridge for 2 minutes. Push the edge of the blob of cooled jam with your finger tip. If it crinkles, then the jam has jellied.
Lime Marmalade Muffins (makes 12-18 muffins)
2/3 cup sugar
Zest 1 small lime, minced or finely grated
2 cups plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup lime marmalade
1 large egg
Optional glaze: 2 tablespoons marmalade, slightly warmed
Preheat your oven to 180°C. Grease the muffin tins or use paper muffin cups.
In a large bowl, rub the sugar with the lime zest to release the oils.
Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt to the sugar bowl and whisk to combine.
In a smaller bowl, whisk together the melted butter, milk, yogurt, egg and marmalade.
Pour the egg/milk mixture into the dry ingredients and fold until just combined. Divide the batter between the muffin cups.
Bake at 180 degrees for about 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes. Warm the extra marmalade briefly in the microwave and then brush it onto the muffins to glaze.
Remove the muffins from the pan and cool completely on a wire rack.