Key Lime or Citrus Aurantifolia is a small evergreen tree that produces a small, sour fruit very similar to Lemon. Like lemon, key lime has a high content of citric acid, but typically less ascorbic acid. This lime has a strong, sweet fragrance. Historically, limes were brought back to Europe by Columbus. They were used to prevent sailors from developing scurvy.
Today, it is cultivated in Italy, Africa, the West Indies and the Americas. The small evergreen tree grows up to 15 feet in height and sprouts oval leaves, small white flowers and bitter fruit. The peel of the fruit is cold pressed to extract the lovely essential oil. The oil itself is normally clear and thin.
Key lime has a fresh, zesty, sweet, rich, tart smell. It is said that key lime fragrance is uplifting, energizing and purifying. It can help ease stress, anxiety and mental fatigue. It even helps promote motivation.
Key lime has many beneficial properties. For instance it is an antibacterial, antidepressant, antiseptic, antiviral, astringent, bactericide, disinfectant, fever-reducing, hemostatic, insecticide and healing tonic.
Beyond key lime’s sweet and tart aroma, it can be applied topically to help skin irritations and insect bites. It can be used for treating throat infections and influenza (colds and flu), digestive problems, and fluid retention.
Key lime even has a variety of skincare benefits. For instance it tones the skin, helps break down subcutaneous cellulite, reduces oily skin, and even helps manage acne.
Six ways key limes are different than other limes:
- Most types of lime have thick rinds, but Key lime has a thinner rind.
- Key lime is sweeter than other types of lime.
- Key lime is smaller in size and volume than most other types of lime.
- Key lime is tarter, more acidic, and has a more intense flavor while other types of lime have less acid content and less intense flavor.
- Key lime has a more yellowish color compared to other types of lime when they are harvested.
- Key lime has more seeds than other types of lime.