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KNOW YOUR LIMES: Key Lime vs. Lime: Is There Really a Difference? – Alkaline Vegan Living

Have you ever come across a key lime and often get confused on whether it’s a key lime or just a regular lime? Have you often wondered what properties key limes have that make them differ from limes?

Well, here’s the thing – key limes differ significantly from limes. So, what is the difference between a Key Lime and a Lime?

Key Limes are smaller than regular limes – and with seeds. If you take your thumb and connect it to your first finger to make a circle, that is about the size of a key lime – approximately about 20mm in circumference. A regular lime on the other hand is a little bigger, 30mm in circumference and without seeds.

While key limes are smaller and have seeds, limes on the other hand, are bigger and usually, without seeds.

This is just the main difference between them, however, there are several other differences as you’ll get to learn in this guide.

Key limes are rarer than limes and it’ll take a whole lot more effort to find key limes compared to regular limes.

Although, key limes are more popularly known for the famous Florida dessert – the Key Lime Pie, that isn’t all there is it to this wonderful alkaline citrus fruit.

Key limes are unarguably one of the most alkalizing fruits there is. This amazing fruit can be used in a variety of recipes including desserts, and alkaline water. They add a zesty flavor to dishes, can be used as alkaline dressings and rubs, or even used as deodorants.

RELATED: Easy Vegan Key Lime Pie Recipe (Best Recipe)

What flavor is key lime?

Key lime have a stronger, more aromatic flavor that gives recipes a unique aroma.

Are key limes sweeter than regular limes?

Yes, Key limes are typically sweeter than regular limes. In fact, key limes are said to be on the sweeter side of the sweet-tangy spectrum. Despite its sweeter taste, key limes have more acidity and a stronger aroma.

Can I substitute lime for Key Lime?

Nothing compares as much as a strong aromatic and tangy sweet flavor that a key lime brings to dishes. Both flavors are quite similar but key limes brings much more aromatic flavor that is so distinct in a smoothie or dessert recipe.

However, if you happen to run out of key limes or can’t find them where you live, you can substitute regular limes for it. However, bear in mind that there’ll surely be noticeable difference in taste in that recipe.

Besides, the value nutrients you get from key limes is incomparable to what’s obtainable from limes, a very good reason Dr. Sebi does not approve of it.

What can I substitute for key limes?

If you live in a place where key limes are herd to find, it only makes sense to substitute limes for key limes.

However, you can try to find the seeded, “organic” limes, although they are also quite rare. Or you can make do with premade key lime juice that are readily available in stores.

Do key limes turn yellow?

Yes. Key limes when ripe, turn yellow or at least greenish-yellow. When bought fresh from the grocery store, they are often unripe and dark green in color. 

Main Differences between a Key Lime and A Regular Lime

Here is a summary of the key differences between a key lime and persian or regular lime.

PropertyKey LimesRegular Limes
Other NamesFlorida Key LimesRegular Limes
Persian Limes
AppearanceSmoother skin
Dark Green when unripe
Yellowish-Green when ripe
Rougher skin
Bright Green when unripe
Yellow when ripe
ShapeRoundedLess rounded, more oblong
SizeSmaller, 15mm diameterBigger, about 20mm diameter
TasteTangy-sweet
More intense aromatic
Tangy-bitter
Less aromatic
Flavor/AromaDistinctive, Zestyless zesty
Seed StructureSeededNon seeded
OriginFlorida Keys, MexicoPersian, Asian (Chinese, Indian)
Areas GrownAmerica, Caribbean, AfricaAsian
Tree VarietiesStout and short,
Averagely 10m in height,
Smooth leaves
More prominent thorns
Grow taller
Grow more than 15m
Serrated leaves
Less thorns
Seasonality/AvailabilitySeasonal
Tougher to find
Available all year round
Easier to Find
Health BenefitsHighly alkaline
More nutritious
Rids the Body of mucus
Less alkaline
Lower nutritional profile
Hybrid
UsesUsed for Key Lime Pie
Deodorant
Used in occasional dishes

Table of Key Differences between A Key Lime and a Lime

Key lime is smaller

If you put a key lime right beside a regular lime, the most prominent difference you’ll quickly notice is in the size. This difference is quite noticeable as key limes are smaller than their lime counterparts. Infact, key limes are almost half the size of limes, but typically not more than 3 quarters.

While Key limes are typically the size of a table tennis ball, Persian or regular limes are just a little bigger, almost one diameter in size compared to key limes that are just about half or three quarters diameter.

Key lime is more rounded

Key limes are often rounded in shape and with a smoother skin on them. While Regular limes are a bit oblong in shape. While regular limes have a thick bright green skin, that of key lime is thinner

When unripe, limes are vividly green and key limes dark green. When ripe, limes become yellow, and key limes turn yellowish-green.

Regular limes are heavier as well, weighing in at more than three and half ounces, three times more than key limes that weigh averagely one ounce. Limes also have a more mottled appearance than key limes.

Key Lime is more tangy

Key Limes have a bit more tangy-sweet taste compared to limes, and so, their inclusion in recipes makes it more on the sweet side of the tangy-sweet spectrum.

Key Lime is more aromatic

Key lime has a stronger, more intense and aromatic taste than lime. Key limes have a stronger aromatic flavor than regular limes, although they can be quite close.

Key limes are well known for their unique aroma that brings a lot of a unique, zesty and tangy flavor to dishes, desserts, and beverages.

It’s strong aromatic flavor is an understandable reason it is used in making natural alkaline Deodorants which are a natural odorizer against body does and unpleasant smells.

The aroma from key limes is also longer-lasting as they often last up to 48 hours on a surface, even after washing.

Key limes are more natural

Key limes grow in the Florida Keys and the Caribbean. Regular or “Persian” limes are Asian in origin. Regular Limes are a hybrid of yellow lemons and key limes. Regular limes are seedless, and going by what Dr. Sebi says about seedless foods, they are unnatural and have little or no nutrition.

Regular limes are hybrid, unnatural and hence have incomplete chemical structure. Many of the missing health benefits in normal limes are found in key limes, which are the more natural alternative.

Key Limes are harder to find

Persian limes and lime juice are available in grocery stores all year. It can be difficult to find fresh key limes because they’re in shorter supply and don’t stay fresh as long. However, bottled or premade key lime juice is available in specialty and online stores.

Key limes are preferred to limes in cooking and garnishing because it’s strong aroma diffuses through ingredients in a dish and this can make a whole lot of difference between a smoothie that’s plain sweet or tarty or bland and one that brings a sweet-tangy twist to its profile.

Key limes are more beneficial

Key limes are commonly used for dish preparation and garnishing including sauces, rubs, desserts, dressings, beverages, drinks, or marinades.

Key limes trees are smaller

Just like the fruits they produce, key lime trees are stout and small, you can almost compare them to a high shrub. They often do not grow more than 6 to 13 feet, and would rather grow or branch out laterally than vertically.

Key lime tree leaves are smaller, a bit darker with rounded edges. The trees also have quite a lot of sturdy thorns which makes harvesting the fruits sometimes a nightmare.

Regular lime trees on the other hand grow taller, often more than 15 to 20 feet.

They branch out more vertically than laterally, with brighter green leaves that are oblong and serrated. The trees also have hardly any thorns.

Key Limes are Grown Rarely

Key Lime trees are largely grown in Florida, California and Mexico. While Regular Lime trees grow in Asian countries of China, India as well as parts of South America such as Brazil and Argentina.

Key Lime Vs Lime Vs Lemon Differences

Here is a summary of key differences among a key lime, a regular lime and a lemon.

PropertyKey LimesRegular LimesLemons
Other NamesFlorida Key LimesRegular Limes
Persian Limes
None
AppearanceDark Green when unripe
Yellowish-Green when ripe
Smoother skin
Bright Green when unripe
Yellow when ripe
Rougher skin
Yellowish
Averagely rough skin
ShapeRoundedLess rounded, more oblongMore Oblong in shape
SizeSmaller, 15mm diameterBigger, about 20mm diameterBigger than limes and key limes
TasteTangy-sweet
More intense aromatic
Tangy-bitter
Less aromatic
Sweeter than limes and key limes
Flavor/AromaDistinctive, Zestyless zestyLess zesty than limes and key limes
Seed StructureSeededSeedlessSeedless
OriginFlorida Keys, MexicoPersian, Asian (Chinese, Indian)
Areas GrownAmerica, Caribbean, AfricaAsian
Tree VarietiesStout and short,
Averagely 10m in height,
Smooth leaves
More prominent thorns
Grow taller
Grow more than 15m
Serrated leaves
Less thorns
Seasonality/AvailabilitySeasonal
Tougher to find
Available all year round
Easier to Find
Available all year round
Health BenefitsHighly alkaline
More nutritious
Rids the Body of mucus
Less alkaline
Lower nutritional profile
Hybrid
Less alkaline
Lowest nutrition profile
Hybrid
UsesUsed for Key Lime Pie
Deodorant
Used in occasional dishesUsed in dishes

Table of Key Differences between A Key Lime and a Lime

Key limes grow in the Florida Keys and the Caribbean. Yellow lemons are a hybrid of sour orange and citron. “Persian” limes are a hybrid of a hybrid – yellow lemons and key limes. The only original in the entire bunch is what is called “key lime.” In the Caribbean, they just call it “lime.” It’s primarily what you see….and they grow prolifically.

RELATED:

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Easy Vegan Key Lime Pie Recipe (Best Recipe)

With these key notes, I bet you would be able to figure out and differentiate key limes from regular limes whenever you go go shopping. As explained, the remarkable differences to watch out for are the size, appearance and seeds.

If you find this article helpful or have any concerns, please let me know in the comments.

-Serena 🙂