The leaves of the kaffir lime tree are two toned. The upper side of the leaves are a glossy deep green while the underside of the leaves are a matte green. The leaves grow in pairs from stem to stem. Sizes can vary from leaf to leaf, though they each have a teaspoon shape with pointed ends. The fragrance and essence of the kaffir lime leaf is incomparable. It has an abundant sweet citrus bouquet that lingers to the nose and the touch. Mature darker green leaves are preferred for use over the younger, less aromatic leaves.
February thru September.
Where It Grows
The kaffir lime tree is native to Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and other parts of south Asia. The trees thrive in warm, humid climates, like Florida, and like other citrus varieties are extremely sensitive to cold and frost.
How it Grows
Kaffir lime trees prefer full sun in moist, well-drained soil. The Kaffir lime tree needs plenty of water and somewhat humid conditions during the growing season. Kaffir lime trees are cold sensitive and need to be protected from frost.
Did You Know?
- Kaffir lime leaves are widely used in Thai (dishes such as tom yum) and Laotian cuisine (for the base paste “Krueng”).
- The sturdy leaves are never eaten whole, but rather steeped and later removed, or sliced very thinly.
- Their mildly herbal citrus flavor can be used to infuse desserts such as custard and ice cream.
- The leaves can be used fresh or dried, and can be stored frozen to extend their shelf life.
- The essential oil in the leaves is extracted and used for various purposes. It is a used in many bath products such as soaps and shampoos. The oil is a great hair and scalp cleanser.
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