The botanical name of the finger lime is citrus (previously microcitrus) australasica. The commercial trees that are currently used were initially developed by taking cuttings from plants in the wild. They are generally grafted onto more traditional rootstock such as trifoliata. Plants that are grown from seed take up to 8-9 years before bearing fruit whereas grafted trees produce within 2-3 years. In the wild there many colours and varieties and interestingly they all have a distinctive flavour. The colours look impressive on the plate and the flavour matches you can make with a variety of foods are only limited by your imagination. They add a fantastic visual affect as well as a burst of citrus flavour making a great accompaniment to many foods and drinks. Use them in any recipe where you would use lemon or lime. You can find more information and our preferred food and drink matches in the section of our website titled USING FINGER LIMES.
This versatile native fruit is now known to be a rich source of folate, potassium and vitamin E. The flesh contains three times the vitamin C compared to a mandarin. The pink varieties especially contain higher levels of vitamin E and are thus a good source of antioxidants.
HISTORY OF FINGER LIMES
Finger limes are a native Australian citrus which grows in our local area. The natural habitat is the border ranges on the edges of the rainforest in S.E. Qld and Northern N.S.W. Trees can be found growing locally on Tamborine Mountain, Binna Burra and in the Canungra area. In fact our neighbour has some growing wild on his property. They were identified a long time ago as a potentially useful fruit and are recorded in the 1895 Kew Economic Botany Collection. We believe the first commercial harvesting of them started in the 1980s for the hospitality industry.
Well before this time the local Aboriginal population valued them both nutritionally and as a topical medicine. The name given to the fruit is gulalung (or gulalamgay for the trees) by the local Aboriginal Bundjalung people. They were eaten for their taste and ability to ward off disease. The pulp and juice were used as a natural antiseptic on the skin. The value of finger lime to skin care is gaining recognition. As a rich source of antioxidants, vitamin C and natural assistance with exfoliation there is growing evidence to show their value in supporting a healthy skin.