There has been a lot of buzz lately about the lime shortage that has resulted in ungarnished cocktails and bland guacamole. While it may have ruined your Cinco de Mayo celebrations last month, there is no reason to let this shortage to keep you from having a zesty summer.
Several factors separate you from your lime fix. According To Matt Eagan of CNN Money, Mexico is the world’s largest exporter of limes and cultivates 98% of the limes consumed in the United States.
NPR’s Carrie Kahn reports that heavy rains, a bacterium called citrus greening disease and criminal conflict have wreaked havoc on the Mexican lime industry.
The combination of these variables has resulted in limited supply and exponential prices.
One way to beat the limeless blues is to grow your own in containers. Limes are usually at their peak from May to October, but growing them in containers that you can bring indoors enables them to flourish in almost any climate at any time of year.
- Dwarf Bears lime trees bear fruit that is juicy and seedless, and the tree itself will fit nicely in a pot in your garden or house.
- Limes prefer full sunlight and can grow in a sunny spot in your garden or in a window.
- Well-drained, rich soil is ideal.
- Citrus trees require fertilizing with a nitrogen-rich mix every few months.
- You should water your plant once or twice a week to maintain constant moisture.
- Over-watering will result in yellowing and cupping of leaves.
- Harvest your limes when they are green with a slight yellow tint.
See more: What’s in Season: Asparagus
- If the prices are too steep or you are not agriculturally inclined, there are plenty of lime alternatives that can give you the punch you are looking for.
- If you have already purchased a lime or two, stretch your buck by using the zest for flavor in addition to the juice.
- Lime juice used for its acidity can sometimes be replaced by vinegar, depending on the recipe.
- Natural or artificial lime extracts can replace lime juice in recipes (but use smaller amounts due to their potencies).
- Mix up your recipe by using a different citrus fruit. A gin and tonic with a twist of orange might be your next favorite beverage.