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Kaffir lime is a bright representative of citrus plants. The tree gained its popularity among flower growers for its dark olive, shiny foliage, beautiful, fragrant flowering and useful properties. Due to the large amount of vitamins, trace elements and essential oils, fresh and dried leaves are widely used in cooking. Without them, it is impossible to cook Asian dishes. Because of the delicate aroma, fresh leaves are used in salads, soups, main courses, cocktails and desserts.
Where does kaffir lime grow?
India is considered the homeland of the plant, in natural conditions the tree reaches 2-4 m. Citrus kaffir lime has several names: papeda black-leaved, makrut, kaffir lime, bergamot, kaffir lime and kaffir sorghum. Due to its beneficial properties, in 18 kaffir-lime was brought to the countries of Asia, where it was widely used in cooking. Today, kaffir lime can be found in Indonesia, the Philippine Islands, Africa and America. In Russia, kaffir lime is grown as a house plant.
Description of kaffir lime
Kafir lime is a medium-sized tree with dark emerald, shiny leaves. The hourglass-shaped leaf plate is very fragrant and, like many citrus fruits, is covered with thorns. The foliage length can be from 2 to 10 cm.
At home, kaffir lime at the end of winter is covered with snow-white flowers with a pronounced fragrant citrus note. After flowering, wrinkled olive-colored fruits appear on the Kaffir lime. The more ripe they are, the yellower the rind becomes.
The leaves and fruits of kaffir lime have a strong smell that is different from other citrus fruits. It looks like a combination of lemon, tangerine and lime, with delicate floral notes. Fully citrus aroma is revealed when the leaves are crushed.
Small fruits are not used for food, since their taste is sour-bitter, and the pulp is not juicy. In Asia, the fruits are harvested and used for the production of household chemicals.
Advice! Citrus Kaffir Lime can be grown in a seed flower pot. True, the plant will bloom and bear fruit for 5 years after planting, but fragrant leaves can be used all year round.
Kaffir lime leaves contain vitamins and minerals, so they are able to cure many diseases. They include:
- ascorbic acid - enhances immunity, improves regeneration and metabolic process, strengthens the gums and protects the body from infections and viruses;
- retinol - essential for vision, to maintain healthy skin, nails and hair;
- tocopherol - slows down the aging process, improves blood circulation, normalizes hormone production;
- potassium - improves heart function and strengthens blood vessels;
- selenium - improves the functioning of the thyroid gland, eliminates harmful free radicals, inhibits the aging process;
- manganese - heals cuts, improves cerebral circulation, normalizes blood sugar, removes harmful cholesterol, toxins and toxins;
- phosphorus - strengthens the teeth and skeletal system.
Important! The maximum amount of nutrients is contained in fresh leaves. To enrich the body with vitamins, kaffir lime leaves are added to salads and soups.
Application of kaffir lime leaves
Kaffir lime is a small tree with fragrant, wholesome leaves. The citrus plant Kaffir lime has found wide application in medicine, cooking and cosmetology.
Fresh, frozen and dried foliage is used in cooking. It is added to salads, sauces, drinks, soups, meat and fish dishes. So that fresh foliage does not lose its aroma, you must first prepare them. There are 2 ways:
- The leaves are washed, the median vein is removed and folded into a pile of 3-4 leaves. Cut into small strips with a sharp knife.
- The leaf is cut into 2 parts, the central vein is removed and the halves are folded together. The folded leaves are rolled into a tube and cut into half rings.
Dried whole kaffir lime leaves are used as a seasoning for soups and sauces. The whole citrus aroma of kaffir lime leaves is revealed in soups and cereals cooked in coconut milk. When added to meat and fish dishes, you can use finely chopped dried leaves.
Advice! When baking fish, to add aroma and citrus flavor, several leaves can be laid in the belly of the fish.
The woody leaf of kaffir lime is indispensable for preparing Asian dishes. The citrus aroma will be a reminder of warm days, giving the dish a delicate taste and an unforgettable shade. Popular Asian kaffir lime dishes are presented below.
Tom Yam Kung Soup
For cooking you will need:
- coconut milk and vegetable broth - 250 ml each;
- kaffir lime - 3 leaves;
- ginger root - 70 g;
- king or Argentine prawns - 100 g;
- champignons - 4-5 pcs.;
- fish sauce - 1 tbsp. l .;
- garlic - 2 cloves;
- hot pepper - 1 pc.;
- vegetable oil - 3 tbsp. l .;
- spices - optional.
- Mushrooms, peppers, ginger root are peeled and cut into thin slices.
- Prepared products are fried in vegetable oil until golden brown.
- Vegetable broth is poured into a saucepan and brought to a boil. Add kaffir lime leaves and salt.
- After 5 minutes, fill in the fried vegetables and spices, boil over low heat for 5-7 minutes.
- Then add fish sauce and peeled shrimp.
- After a few minutes, the coconut milk is poured in.
- After boiling, the soup can be poured into plates, not forgetting to remove the kaffir lime leaves.
Pangasius in Asian style
For cooking you need:
- fish fillet - 0.5 kg;
- lime - ½ fruit;
- kaffir lime - 3-4 leaves;
- basil - 1 sprig;
- star anise - 2 pcs.;
- cayenne pepper - 1 pc.;
- soy sauce - 0.5 tsp;
- sesame oil - 2 tsp;
- spices - optional.
- Peel off the peel from the lime, squeeze out the juice, and rub the zest on a fine grater.
- Pepper, star anise, kaffir lime leaves and basil are ground in a mortar.
- Juice and citrus zest are added to the aromatic mixture. Pour in oil, soy sauce and mix thoroughly.
- Pangasius fish fillets are washed and dried on a paper towel.
- The fish is coated on both sides with sauce and wrapped in foil.
- Preheat the oven to 180 ° C, spread the fish and cook for 20-30 minutes.
Advice! As a side dish for fish, you can serve mashed potatoes or boiled rice.
Kaffir lime leaves can be frozen or dried to keep them flavorful and healthy. Before freezing, the leaves are thoroughly washed and dried. Then they are folded in a pile and laid out in bags for freezing. The frozen spice can retain its aroma and useful properties for 2 years.
In order to dry the leaves of kaffir lime, they are washed under running water, laid out on a paper towel and removed to dry in fresh air, protected from direct sunlight. The dried spice is transferred to a linen bag and removed to a dry, dark place.
Important! When buying a fragrant seasoning, remember that kaffir lime and bergamot are one and the same, so you can often find a plant under different names on the shelves.
To enrich the body with vitamins, increase immunity and maintain vitality, it is not necessary to prepare medicinal infusions, tinctures, extracts and decoctions from kaffir lime leaves. It is enough to add fresh or dry foliage to the diet.
Kaffir lime leaves are often used in folk medicine. They are capable of:
- increase acidity;
- eliminate insomnia;
- rejuvenate the skin by removing toxins and toxins;
- support the immune system and quickly restore the body after illness;
- relieve pain and nervous tension;
- lower blood sugar and eliminate bad cholesterol.
In the East, thanks to its rich aroma and beneficial properties, kaffir lime citrus leaves are added to a variety of creams, shampoos, and lotions. Cosmetics are prescribed:
- with acne;
- to smooth out wrinkles;
- to give the skin a healthy glow and elasticity;
- to get rid of seborrhea;
- to strengthen nails;
- to eliminate pigmentation of freckles.
Contraindications for use
Like any exotic product, kaffir lime can harm the body. Before eating the fruit, you need to know the contraindications. Citrus kaffir-lime is not recommended to be given:
- children under 10 years of age, as leaf juice improves gastric acid production and can lead to inflammation and internal bleeding;
- pregnant and lactating women, the introduction of a new product may adversely affect the health of the child;
- with exacerbation of gastrointestinal diseases;
- people with food allergies - a large amount of vitamin C, which is contained in the leaves of kaffir lime, can cause an allergic reaction, up to anaphylactic shock.
Important! Since kaffir lime juice contains ethanol, it should not be consumed by coded people and those whose profession is associated with increased attention.
When purchasing a kaffir lime, you need to know how it looks, therefore, in order not to make a mistake in choosing, you need to view the photo.
How to replace kaffir lime leaves
Dried and fresh kaffir lime foliage is often used in cooking. Rarely, a fragrant seasoning can be purchased on the shelves of Russian stores, therefore, in order to obtain an identical taste and smell, kaffir lime can be replaced with the following ingredients:
- Bay leaf, lemon zest and citrus thyme - to prepare the seasoning, mix half of the chopped bay leaf, ½ tsp each. lemon zest and citrus thyme. The prepared seasoning is suitable for making soups, french fries, meat and fish dishes.
- Citrus Leaves - If fresh kaffir lime leaves are not available, you can mix the crushed lime, grapefruit and lemon leaves in equal proportions. The seasoning will not have a strong aroma, so it is added to the dishes in a larger volume.
How to grow kaffir lime at home
To have fresh foliage at hand all year round, kaffir lime can be grown at home. After purchasing a plant, it is necessary to give it proper care. It consists in timely pruning, watering, feeding and observing the temperature and humidity conditions.
Lighting - kaffir-lime is a thermophilic plant that prefers bright diffused light. The best location would be the east or west side. For good development, a citrus plant needs 12 hours of light.
Depending on the season, kaffir lime needs a certain temperature regime:
- in the spring-summer season, the temperature should be within + 25-30 ° C;
- in the autumn-winter period + 20-25 ° C.
If the temperature regime is observed, kaffir lime will grow rapidly, bloom profusely and bear fruit.
For good development, kaffir lime citrus needs high air humidity throughout the year. To increase humidity:
- carry out daily spraying with warm water;
- a warm shower every 2 months;
- a humidifier is installed next to the plant;
- the pots with the plant are placed on moistened expanded clay.
Main agrotechnical measures:
- Watering. Kaffir lime needs regular watering without moisture stagnation. Irrigation is carried out with warm, settled water after the top layer of the earth has dried out. During hibernation, watering is reduced to 3 times a month.
- Top dressing. For better growth and development, once every 2 weeks, kaffir-lime is fed with liquid fertilizers intended for citrus plants. Top dressing is bred and applied strictly according to the instructions. To prevent the root system from getting burned, the kaffir-lime is spilled abundantly before feeding.
- Pruning. The first crown shaping is carried out immediately after purchase. In the plant, the main stem is shortened, giving the development of lateral shoots. The next year, pruning of shoots is carried out by 1/3 of the length. Subsequent years carry out sanitary pruning and remove branches growing deeper into the crown.
- Transfer. Young kaffir lime is transplanted annually into a new larger pot using the transfer method. An adult plant is transplanted only after the roots appear from the drainage holes.
In case of non-observance of agrotechnical rules, insect pests often settle on kaffir lime: spider mites, scale insects and mealybugs. The first signs of the appearance of insects:
- stop in growth and development;
- foliage deforms, dries up and falls off;
- plaque on the ground part of the plant;
- the appearance of dark or gray spots on the leaf plate;
- the appearance of a thin web;
- there is a massive drop of foliage.
You can get rid of insect pests by using broad-spectrum insecticides.
Kaffir lime is a healthy citrus plant that can be grown at home. Observing simple rules of care, you can get a beautifully flowering, fragrant tree with original fruits. Due to their high content of essential oils, the leaves are often used in cooking. They are added to soups, fish and meat dishes, desserts and cocktails.