3 colours of finger limes exposed

Finger Limes

Written by Natasha Zervaas N.P.

The Australian Finger Lime (Citrus australasica), also known as ‘Rainforest Pearls’ or ‘Citrus Caviar’ originate from the lush rainforests of Australia’s east coast. These gorgeous fruits have been a traditional bush food for many thousands of years for our Indigenous people who use finger limes for food as well as for medicine.  

The fruit is extremely nutritious being high in Potassium and Folate as well as antioxidant rich, containing the vitamins A and E, plus more than three times the amount of vitamin C than you would find in a mandarin.

Due to its high vitamin A, C and E content, Australian Finger Limes can be consumed to bolster the body’s natural immunity and ward off infections. 

Vitamin C is important to prevent iron and scurvy (vitamin C deficiency), swollen and bleeding gums, and alongside the other antioxidants, supports collagen production, fights free radicals and hence wards off the ravaging effects of ageing.  This Potassium rich fruit may help to lower high blood pressure by relaxing the blood vessels within the body, and the fruit is even reputed to contain antiseptic properties also.

With gorgeous names such as Pink Ice, Chartreuse and Red Champagne, there are six different species of Finger Limes that vary in size, shape, colour and taste depending on which tree they have originated from.  However, the outside appearance of a Rainforest Pearl belies its bejewelled interior – it isn't exactly aesthetically pleasing to the eye with narrow, drooping, dark brownish-purple or green skin that gives no hint to its’ spectacular flesh within –  but when you cut open a ripe Australian Finger Lime in half and gently squeeze it, the fruit will reveal gorgeous, glossy vibrant pink/red or yellow/green ‘glass-like’ beads that look very similar to fish roe (hence the name citrus caviar).

These tiny balls of flesh are bursting with a sour citrusy tang that add flavour, colour and texture to our modern Australian cuisine.  They are however quite small and don’t produce a huge amount of pearls, so are often used as a stunning garnish to a gourmet dish.  In saying this, Finger Limes are very versatile and can be utilised in jams, preserves, cocktails, marinades and cordials.  Rainforest Pearls can also be made into delicious dressings that pair perfectly with seafood.

Australia’s own Rainforest Pearls Australia’s own Rainforest Pearls

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