Kaffir Limes… I have used the leaves in many of the Thai dishes that I cook they are used in many Asian dishes…The trees are small evergreen trees and prickly. The one I had was quite a young one and I had not seen any fruit…It wasn’t until a neighbour gave me some of the fruit that I put two and two together and realised that was the fruit of the tree I had growing in the garden and now we have fruit.
The rind is very bumpy unlike the normal limes I use and when cut open the flesh is quite dry and what juice there is has an acidic, bitter and is very strongly sour tasting.
A complete contrast to the zest which is quite aromatic.
A little zest goes a long way and very finely chopped or added to ingredients it imparts a beautiful citrusy flavour. I have added a little video as there is a knack for chopping the lime leaves very finely.
Here in Thailand, it is also pounded in a pestle and mortar as it is an ingredient in many curry pastes.
The Madagascans use the whole macerated fruit and make rum I wonder if I could have a go….Carol’s distillery in her garden shed…Does that sound like a plan???
Called Rhum arrange it comes from the islands of la Reunion and Nearby Madagascar as well as the French islands in the Caribbean.
House or homemade rums flavoured with fruits, roots and spices that are macerated for a minimum of 1 month..although it is recommended to let it macerate for 6 months or even longer.
There are as many as 400 different recipes for rhum arrange and some have been macerated for 3-4 years…Wow, I bet they pack a punch!
And there is no end to what things are put into those bottles to “arrange” the rums…it could be a snake or sea urchin or just fruits and spices but all supposed to be quite delicious…
There are two different ways of macerating one is the traditional common way of submerging the fruits and spices into the rum. Then there´s another where you hang the fruits (usually citrus fruits) as they are or with things inserted into the fruits – like coffee beans and hung above the liquid.
The idea is that the aromatics and oils are derived from the citrus and spices without any bitterness from the pith and that´s the reason this method is usually used for citrus fruits.
Rhum Combava (Kaffir Lime)
1 litre of white rum (traditionally Rhum Charette) or rhum Agricole
Grated zest of one combava/kaffir lime
1 vanilla bean, split in two
150g raw cane sugar
Mix and infuse the rum for at least 2 months.
I think I could manage to do that and make it into a nice cocktail… Oh Yes!
Nutritionally the benefits of the Kaffir Lime is from the oils in the rind and the high levels of citronella and limonene which are both antibacterial and anti-inflammatory.
Oil extracted from the leaves is also used for medicinal purposes, it is mixed into shampoos, soaps salves and fragrances.
Most often it is used in oral products or the leaves can be rubbed directly onto the gums as it eliminates harmful bacteria in the mouth.
In the rural areas and villages, you will find many herbs, fruits and vegetables are used like this to help alleviate and cure many ailments as many either are to far away to visit the doctor or cannot afford to or even just prefer to use remedies passed down through the generations.
It is also used as an insect repellant by mixing the juice or oil with a lotion or salve and it reduces the chance of being bitten.
I hope you have enjoyed learning about the Kaffir Lime…Do you use Kaffir lime or its leaves ????
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