Although lemons and limes may not be what you would choose for an afternoon snack, we consider them as powerhouses when we want to bring out the flavor of other foods. While both are available throughout the year, lemons are in the peak of their season around May, June and August while limes are at their peak from May through October. Lemons are oval in shape and feature a yellow, texturized outer peel. Like other citrus fruits, their inner flesh is encased in eight to ten segments. One of the tricks to finding a good quality lemon is to find one that is rather thin-skinned since those with thicker peels will have less flesh and are less juicy. Fresh lemons are available all year round and will stay fresh kept at room temperature, away from exposure to sunlight, for about one week. Usually smaller than lemons, limes are oval or round in shape with green flesh and skin. They can be either sour or sweet depending on the variety; however, sweet limes are not readily available in the United States. Sour limes contain citric acid giving them a sour or tart taste, while sweet limes lack citric acid and are sweeter in flavor. Limes are grown on trees that flourish in tropical and subtropical climates. A good trick to choosing limes is to choose the ones that are firm and heavy for their size. Look for those that don't have any decay and mold. They should have a dark green shiny skin. Limes are known to turn more yellow as they ripen, but are at their best tart flavor when they are green in color. Limes are available in the grocery stores throughout the year, although they are usually in greater supply from mid-spring through mid-fall.
Both Lemons and limes are excellent sources of vitamin C. Personally I prefer limes over lemons. Green is my favorite color and when you bite into a lime you don't receive such a sour burst of flavor that you would get from a lemon.
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