Australian finger limes are a truly unique citrus fruit. Cut one open, and out will pop a myriad of little juice pearls that look like caviar. Pop them in your mouth, and they will deliver a wonderful tangy lime flavor. And all of this is wrapped up in an unusual finger shaped fruit that comes in a myriad of colors.
The trees are indigenous to the Australian rain forest, and because they were relatively rare, have only recently begun to be commercially cultivated. Availability of the fruit, even in Australia, is still extremely limited. To add to the rarity, at least as far as we in North America are concerned, most trees are not grown in areas that are approved for export to the USA, and so many of the few finger limes that find their way over here have effectively been imported illegally.
Due to a wide natural diversity, there are a range of fruit colors, as well as sizes and shapes. Colors include yellow (the most common), purple, red, green and even black, with a range of colors in between. Pulp colors vary between green, yellow, white and pink.
Flavors and sweetness also vary, although less so. The flavor is similar to the standard Tahitian lime, but the structure of the pulp gives a wonderful flavor burst sensation. Pink pulp tends to be more aromatic compared to other limes.
Botanical: Mitrocitrus australasica.
Source: The trees grow to approx. 10 meters (30 feet). It is a rare tree that originated in the rain forests of Northern New South Wales, Australia. The fruit has been a food source for the Australian Aborignal people for thousands of years. It has taken over 30 years of research to isolate and select commercially viable varieties.
Applications: Amazing on oysters, as well as sashimi and sushi. Excellent in cocktails or as a pinwheel slice floated in Thai soup. Blend well with other Australian native foods as well as ginger, chili and cilantro. Use them as a garnish on any food that is enhanced by lime juice.