New food of the week: Citrus Caviar aka finger limes



I first heard about finger limes just a few months ago when I was looking at a fruit tree catalog.  I thought, "what an amazing fruit".  It's description was:

Unique Citrus:  Australian Finger Lime (Microcitrus australasica) 
One of the most fascinating discoveries in our fruit world, this unusual variety is sometimes called Citrus Caviar.  Contained in the dark purple, 3" long fruit are a multitude of juicy capsules, bursting with intense, sweet-tart, lemon-lime flavor.  Found in the wild in Australia, Finger Limes have been cultivated for less than 10 years in the US.



Well we have lots of citrus trees growing in our garden so the idea of citrus caviar just sounded wonderful to me.  Think of all the uses...I could put it in drinks - little floating beads of citrus; I could decorate desserts with it - imagine a dairy free lemon cheesecake with pearls of citrus caviar sprinkled on top; or just sprinkle them on salads or anywhere you'd use lemon zest......My mind was buzzing!

So yes, I had to order a tree.  I mentioned them to a friend and she asked me to order her one too so we could see who had the better climate for them - Sonoma or Glen Ellen!

But sadly, the company who are based in Oregon, said they can't ship citrus trees to California :-(

Oh dear. I was sad. So I've been asking around at local nurseries to see if they can get one for me....and no luck so far.


Then the other day, I was out in a different part of the county that I don't usually visit, seeing a new client.  On the way home I had to pick up some items for dinner so thought I'd call in a Raley's supermarket.  I've only ever been in a Raley's 3 times in my life - and always this same one. As it happens, I enjoyed shopping in there, as they had lots of different things from what I see in my usual supermarket.  But it was in the produce section that I got really excited.  I'd been around the section a couple of times and just found fresh pomegranates, which we don't normally see at this time of year. This encouraged me to look a little closer, thinking what else might they have that I don't normally see?  

And what did I spy but a little packet labelled "citriburst"! Yes - fresh finger limes for sale :-D


But when I turned the packet over, they looked very unattractive and I figured they were old and out of date.  But on closer examination, I found that their black, dark green color is actually their fresh color! All was not lost.

So 2 packets later and here I am trying them. 

They are fun!  Little pearls of citrus with a crunch to them too!  The description in the catalog was spot on - a little sweet and a little tart. And a burst in your mouth.  The pearls are different colors in each finger - some are a little pinky in color, whereas others are "lemon" in color (!) and apparently they are sometimes neon green!


So I tried sprinkling a few on top of a marmalade oat hemp bar I made, with a little of my homemade soy yoghurt.  Combination of the marmalade with the citrus caviar was great!

The best way to get the caviar out is to cut the limes in half and squeeze each half, as you see in the first couple of photos.

Got to get making some new things now with my new found friend. 


Have you ever seen them or tried them? I can imagine them being great with seafood, if you eat seafood - and a cocktail...well....we'll have to see what cocktail hour brings this evening! Give them a try if you can find them.  They are a happy food!  Something different to delight your eyes as well as your taste buds.

Have you tried a new food this week?

Here's the supplier's video:


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New food of the week - Mandarinquat

This past week we've been enjoying the fruit from our newest citrus tree - a Mandarinquat tree.  We bought the tree last year, so this is its first harvest. My husband tried the fruit first and declared that it was really too sour.


But then he read the label (!) and sure enough, it tells you that the flesh of the fruit is indeed sour but that the peel is sweet. Thus you eat both together and the flavors balance each other out.  How clever!

As you may have guessed, the tree is a cross between a mandarin and a kumquat. The fruits are larger than kumquats (about 3 inches tall) and such a lovely orange color.   More vibrant orange color than mandarins and satsuma - and teardrop in shape.



To use them, we are slicing them across - so you get both skin and flesh in each taste. I've been adding them to salads, and an oat-berry (groats) recipe I'm working on. You can also make marmalade out of them, but we don't have enough for that this year.

They taste good but it is their appearance that will make me want to use them.  They are good sources of vitamin C and as you eat the peel and flesh, you also get a lot of fiber from them.



In my food as medicine class this week we made bean brownies as our topic was beans and legumes - so we used some satsumas from our other tree in the brownie mix and then decorated each brownie with a slice of mandarinquat.  It made for a citrus brownie that seemed much more special - both in appearance and flavor.


Don't they look nice!  Have you tried a new food this week?  Have you ever seen mandarinquats for sale?

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