Boughs are hanging heavy with fruit in the Mission Garden’s living history orchard at the foot of A-Mountain! With chilly nights at last descending upon us, it is time for all of us in low desert country to harvest citrus for the holidays. The heirloom SWEET-LIME, brought by Father Kino to the Pimeria Alta more than 3 centuries ago, is a living, lasting gift to us, conserved and propagated now by ethnobotanist Jesus Garcia of the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum and the Kino Mission Fruit-tree Project.
Tia Marta here, wanting so much to share this amazinging sweet-lime with you–and doggone technology has not caught up with my wish to have you just scratch and sniff it right now! (When will techno-dudes ever perfect the digital transmission of olfactory joys?). For the time being you will just have to visit the Community Food Bank booth at Thursday’s Santa Cruz Farmers’ Market, or come in person to visit the Mission Garden any Saturday 10am-2pm (within the adobe wall off S.Grande Ave. See http://www.tucsonsbirthplace.org for directions.)
Ideas for sweet-lime juice: Amazing what baby-boomers are getting rid of these days. I found a manual juicer at a yard sale which is perfect for citrus halves and even for sections of pomegranate.
With sweet-lime juice you can wax creative. For a festive punch, try it mixed with prickly pear juice that you have saved frozen from your August harvest. Or, for more colorful punches, mix sweet-lime juice with grenadine, or your home-squoze pomegranate juice, or jamaica tea. It also tastes great with mango. Another admired Tucson ethnobotanist, Dr Letitia McCune, (www.botanydoc.com) is an expert in cherry nutrition so of course I had to try sweet-lime with tart cherry. Yum!
Here are more ideas for sliced or diced sweet-lime fruit:
SWEET-LIME CANDY RECIPE: For a simple-to-make holiday treat of sweet-lime and other citrus rinds, boil sweet-lime rinds for 5-10 minutes to denature some bitter oils, drain completely, add equivalent amount of organic sugar (i.e. if you have 2 cups of sliced rinds then add 2 cups of sugar). Do not add ANY liquid. In saucepan, cook on medium heat until a thick syrup forms (at the hard-ball stage). With tongs, remove each syrup-coated slice and place to dry and harden on a cookie sheet or waxed paper. Each will crystallize into a crunchy piece of aromatic candy to excite both the youthful and mature palette.
(All photos by the author, copyright 2017)