Back in my England days there was one thing you could almost always rely on: somewhere in my fridge you would find half a lemon. Always half a lemon. When you have a whole lemon, there are all kinds of uses (for half of it) – squeeze it over some fish, slice it for drinks, the list goes on… But what about the other half? That would sit in my fridge for days, slowly shrinking and shrivelling and becoming increasingly useless.
Here in Brazil things are different – we have limes! Aren’t limes great? Not only do they have an amazingly fragrant, tangy, zingy flavour, but they are just the right size! You won’t find half a lime in my Brazilian fridge.
But what about lemons? Here in Brazil (in Rio at least) they seem to be very rare. After learning that the Portuguese for lime is limão, I wondered what the word for lemon was. The answer? Limão. Huh? “You use the same word for both lemons and limes?” I asked incredulously. It was like the moment I found out that Portuguese (and Spanish) uses the same word for fingers and toes! (Dedos).
Well, that is the simple answer anyway. In fact there is a way to distinguish between your limões (and your dedos). You get specific.
Apparently these limes are from Tahiti! Well, I guess the variety is at least. These particularly large and firm limes are very handy if you want to make yourself a decent-sized caipirinha - the extra juice will ensure that you can still walk after you've polished it off.