I am often asked how to use finger limes, the Australian native citrus also known as citrus caviar. Here are more than 10 ideas for incorporating this bush food in cooking and cocktails.
What are Finger Limes
Finger lime (Citrus australasica) also known as “citrus caviar” and “caviar lime” is an Australian native fruit endemic to the sub-tropical rainforests of Northern NSW and Queensland. The thorny tree from the rue or citrus family (Rutaceae) produces finger-shaped fruit filled with zesty pearls that look like caviar.
Finger lime comes in various colours and citrus flavours. Some have a zesty sherbet flavour others, like the red variety combines zestiness with fruity notes such as berry and apple.
When you cut a finger lime, tiny caviar-like balls called vesicles are released which burst in the mouth with a concentrated lime flavour. They vary in colour from pale pink to yellow and bright green. The skin colour gives no indication so there is an element of surprise.
How to Use Finger Limes
1. Finger limes can be substituted for lemon or lime in anything from salads and seafood to sushi. Use on freshly-shucked oysters. The combination of tang and brine is sensational.
2. In a hot pan, lightly sear scallops with butter and oil then serve on top sautéed baby spinach with garlic. Top with finger-lime caviar.
3. Use them in ceviche and on top of chargrilled BBQ prawns.
4. For a simple, refreshing and non-alcoholic drink, add a couple of finger lime wheels to sparkling water.
5. Make an aioli with olive oil, garlic, finger lime caviar, egg yolk and season to taste.
5. Freeze finger limes whole in an airtight container. The fruit freezes well and retains its texture and flavour.
6. Use finger lime pearls to garnish a lemon cheesecake or a lemon and lime sorbet.
7. Add the citrus caviar to guacamole and serve with corn chips.
8. Make a jam or marmalade using the whole fruit. The skins and seeds provide the pectin needed.
9. Add them to a ponzu sauce with grated ginger, soy sauce, mirin, brown sugar, rice vinegar, fresh lime juice and a touch of chilli powder (optional).
10. Slice finger limes horizontally and thinly. Dehydrate them then blitz skin and all into a fine powder and use to flavour anything from drinks to desserts.
Finger Lime in Cocktails
Finger limes are a popular botanical in several Australian gins and widely used in cocktails. ‘Rainforest Pearls’ is my finger lime cocktail which I created for Diageo Bar Academy. For this cocktail, I make finger lime oleo saccharum which I use as a cocktail ingredient with tequila and garnish with dehydrated finger lime pearls on a mother of pearl caviar spoon.
NOTE: The above video is an approved, cut down version of the full video ‘Unleash The Power Of Citrus Cocktails’ by Diageo Bar Academy which I recommend you view in its entirety on Facebook. They have very kindly granted me permission to share my segment with The Gourmantic Garden readers.
Want to Know More?
For more information on how to grow Finger Limes, which varieties to try, how to pair them with food and spirits, and how to use finger limes in cocktails including a full recipe, get your copy of my 260+ page digital book GROW YOUR OWN COCKTAIL GARDEN available HERE.