At first glance you might label dried limes as rejects mistakenly placed along with the other produce in the market. With its shrunken and dusty dark brown citrus skulls, they look far from the vibrant citrusy limes we are so fond of. However, dried lime slices are what you would consider as a “low-key” spice that can potentially be a secret weapon once you know how to use it.
What are Dried Limes?
Dried limes are a popular staple in Persian and other Middle Eastern cuisines like in Iraq and the other Gulf States. These are made of fresh limes boiled in salt water and left to dry until they become rock hard and dark brown in colour. They also have a brittle texture which can be easily cracked open with a hammer. You’ll find a glossy mahogany inner shell along with its bright and acidic fragrance. Its taste is both similar to the sour concentration of fresh limes but at the same time more complex.
These dark brown brittle limes resembling golf balls are called “limu omani” in Iran and these were first created in Oman. Dried limes were initially widespread in Omani cuisines and eventually became a staple ingredient in Middle Eastern cuisine.
How to Use Dried Limes
The natural tang and acidic flavour of dried limes make them a stellar secret ingredient to your soups and stews. Dried limes can also be used in two different forms, whole or in powdered form. Whole dried limes are typically used in soups and stews since they will rehydrate and infuse the broth or sauce with its flavours. Make sure to wash the dried limes well and pierce them with a sharp knife to allow the broth to soften the limes.
The powdered form of dried limes can be used to spice and garnish dishes. It can be incorporated to make an amazing marinade for chicken and can be sprinkled over pastas, meats, and salads. They are also used by cocktail bartenders as a sour spice for fruit garnishes.
Health Benefits of Dried Limes
Improves heart health
Dried limes are known to be rich in potassium which is vital for healthy heart muscles and helps in regulating blood flow. Regulating blood flow is key in minimizing your chances of having hypertension, all in all saving you from potential heart problems.
Improves digestive system
Aside from being a wonderful ingredient, dried limes are also great for easing digestive issues. They are a great cure for diarrhoea as well as constipation. Dried limes provide gastric relief, strengthen the immune system, and improve your appetite.
Detoxes the body
Incorporating dried limes into your diet is also a great way of removing toxins and harmful bacteria from the body. Dried limes can purify and protect your gut from bacterial infection.
Great for your overall well-being
Dried limes are abundant in minerals, vitamins, and amino acids which are great for your immune system and overall well-being. Since it is rich in vitamin C, incorporating dried limes in your diet protects you against the common cold, inflammation, and other infections.
Dried limes are proof of the saying “do not judge a book by its cover” since despite its underwhelming exterior, it is a prized ingredient and spice available all year round. Making dried limes a staple in your pantry not only elevates your dishes but also promotes a healthy lifestyle.