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Are Limes and Lemons the Same?

Limes and lemons are closely related botanically but do belong to different species. Key limes are known as Citrus aurantiifolia, while lemons belong to the species Citrus limon. Persian limes, Citrus latifolia, is a hybrid fruit created by crossing key limes with lemons. If you’d like to nerd out on all that wild crossbreeding, here’s an in-depth article on the “phylogenetic origins of limes and lemons revealed by cytoplasmic and nuclear markers.”

When it comes to appearance, limes are green while lemons are yellow (at least, once they ripen). Also, limes are smaller and rounder than lemons (with the exception of Finger limes).

Limes and lemons also have distinct taste differences and culinary uses.

Limes have a tangy, acidic flavor that is more sour than sweet. Gourmands typically describe their taste as fresh and citrusy, with a slightly bitter aftertaste.

Mexican, Thai, and Indian, as well as a variety of other cuisines, use lime juice and zest in recipes and in cocktails like margaritas and mojitos.

Lemons, on the other hand, have a tart, acidic flavor that is also slightly sweet. The flavor is bright and zesty, with a distinct citrusy aroma.

The juice and zest of lemons are commonly used in a variety of sweet or savory dishes and beverages, such as lemonade, marinades, dressings, and desserts.

( Excerpt taken from The Food Revolution Network)

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