Some History of Lemons and Limes
Did you know lemons and limes are not native to any Spanish-speaking country? In fact, they aren’t even their own species of fruit. The journey of citrus is interesting.
“Citrus appears to have originated in southeast Asia, China and northern India, and then citrus has been moved around the world.” explained Tracy Kahn, a specialist in citrus at the University of California, Riverside. Originally there were four basic species that were cross-bred, creating the many kinds of lemons and limes that exist today.
“Lemons and limes are actually hybrids. So a citron, which is one of the basic species, was crossed with a small flowered pepita, and that generated what we think of now as small fruited limes, things like the Mexican lime or key lime.”
The variety called the Mexican lime, that is now an integral part of South American cuisine, was brought from southeast Asia to Spain by the crusaders, and then to South America by the conquistadors.