The Herb of the Month for August 2020 is Makrut Lime Citrus hystrix.
This tropical fruit comes to us from southeast Asia and southern China. There are several common names for this cultivar, one of which is Thai lime. The plant is a thorny small tree or bush with double shaped leaves. It is as if two leaves have been joined together. This tropical tree can be grown in pots and brought indoors if you are outside of Zones 9-10. Good drainage and a sunny spot is the right combination for success. The older cultivar carries two-inch fruit with bumpy skin. The newer crop developments have eliminated the bumps and wrinkles which improves packaging.
Both the fruit and the leaves of the Makrut Lime can be used in Asian cuisine. The leaves can be added to dishes to impart a citrus flavor, but they are to be removed before serving. If sliced very thinly, then the leaves can be left in the dish. The rind of the Markut lime is ground up and added to curry pastes adding its citrus flavor.
The rind and leaves are also prized for the production of essential oil with a citrus fragrance used in the cosmetics industry.
. ~~ Reni Erskine
Makrut Lime Custards
- 3 ½ cups heavy cream
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 Makrut lime leaves
- ½ cup plus 2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1 teaspoon finely grated lime zest
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Sweetened whipped cream, quartered lychees, chopped mint and sea salt for garnish.
- In a medium saucepan, combine the cream with the sugar and makrut lime and bring to a simmer. Cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until the cream is slightly reduced, about 15 minutes.
- Whisk the lime juice into the hot cream. Strain the cream through a fine sieve set over a measuring cup. Stir in the lime zest and salt. Pour the cream into eight 6-ounce glasses and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, until chilled and set. Top the custards with whipped cream, garnish with lychees, mint and sea salt and serve right away. Make ahead: The custards can be refrigerated overnight. Garnish just before serving.