Dry lime fruit

Dry Lime fruit; Why limes dry up and what to do with themDry Lime fruit; Why limes dry up and what to do with them

Having a dry lime fruit can be a real problem for any farmer. If your limes are drying on the tree, you might be asking yourself what went wrong or rather where you went wrong.

Unless you’re growing a kaffir lime with dry and oily fruits, most other lime fruits are juicy. If your limes are drying on the tree, it should be cause for alarm.

On the other hand, there are a type of dry lime fruit, also known as Omani Limes, limo, or black limes, which are a fermented flavorful funky citrusy spice in Iraq, Iran, and Middle Eastern kitchens that add life to any meal.

In case the limes that are drying on your tree are Persian Limes, you don’t have to throw them away. You can transform them into the beloved Middle Eastern spice, the black lime.

Causes of dry lime fruit

Reasons And Fixes For Dry Lime Fruit

The reasons your lime tree fruits are drying are numerous, from watering problems to the temperature and disease to infinity.

However, listed below are the most common reasons for dry lime fruit formation. 

1. Improper watering can cause dry lime fruit

Limes require plenty of water for healthy fruit development, more so when they are grown in containers. If limes do not get sufficient water during, especially when they are fruiting, it reduces limes’ juiciness.

Water is essential for juice development in limes. If there is a drought or the farmer forgets water continuously enough, the limes may not produce juice and dry.

2. Overly mature dry lime fruit

If limes stay too long on the tree, it could cause the lime fruits to dry. You may have often heard people say, ‘the longer you leave a lime on the tree, the juicier it becomes,’ but that is only true until the limes fully ripen. 

After the limes fully ripen, the law of diminishing returns sets in, and the juiciness begins to decrease. Limes should be picked before reaching full maturity while still green. If you wait for your limes to turn yellow, you risk them over maturing, then they become dry lime fruit.

3. The fruit was from a young tree.

Limes are considered young when theta is 2 years and below. When a lime tree is still young, the root system isn’t fully developed to absorb enough nutrients to support healthy fruit growth. 

This means that even though the watering is right or any other defining factor in me fruit juiciness is right, the lime may still not have the nutrients to produce healthy and juicy limes. 

This is why they often encourage farmers to prune blossoms and fruit off baby limes in gardening class. Lime fruits of young limes are often no good.

4. Nutrient deficiencies can cause dry lime fruit

Nutrient deficiencies or stress can cause dry lime fruits. Improper fertilization and inadequate fertilizing is one major reason lime fruits may dry up. 

Nutrients like potassium and calcium are crucial for fruit development in lime trees. If the soil lacks such important elements, the fruit may prematurely fall off. If you’re lucky, it will stay on the tree but be dry and unpalatable.

5. The rootstock is weak (for grafted trees)

The rationale for grafting is to confer hardiness and resistance to a lime tree. The rootstock used may tick all the boxes for hardiness and resistance but may not have a strong and well-adapted root system.

Suppose the rootstock doesn’t have a well-developed root system. In that case, it won’t effectively mediate nutrients from the soil to shoot, meaning that the plant may ‘starve’ even when there are nutrients in the soil.

When limes don’t have enough nutrition, the lime fruits won’t be healthy.

Remedies for a dry lime fruit

If a lime tree produces dry fruit, it is usually because of nutrient deficiencies and watering problems. Thankfully both of them can be fixed. 

A farmer must give the like tree extra TLC after the fruiting season to save the next fruiting season from drying also. There isn’t much a gardener can do to save lime fruits when they dry up.

Listed below are proven ways to revive your lime tree so that you can have better and juicer fruit the next season.

1. Fertilize

Best fertilizer for lime trees

One of the leading causes of lime fruit dryness is insufficient nutrients in the soil. Fertilizing is important for keeping the nutrient content balanced in the soil. 

While you are fertilizing, it is important to also focus on other micronutrients like calcium and potassium because they are important in fruit formation and development.

2. Water frequently and adequately.

Limes are thirst trees and need frequent watering. However, take care not to overwater, which can cause another dimension of challenges.

2-3 times a week should suffice unless you live in warm and dry areas where transpiration is high. In which case. You may have to water daily.

3. Ensure you use hardy but root strong rootstock 

Hardy and strong rootstock will give both resistance and juicy fruit traits. Ask your nursery gardener about the rootstock before purchasing a grafted plant. 

You need to ascertain that the rootstock you have will serve its purpose.

4. Watch the cold winters and hot summers.

Lime plants are sensitive to cold and will be frost damaged during cold winters, but that’s a different topic. In hot summers, the water requirement of lime trees increases. 

A farmer needs to water more and mist the tree daily to avoid heat from drying out the lime tree fruits. 

5. Don’t encourage young trees to fruit.

As mentioned before, young fruits often produce dry fruits because the root system is still underdeveloped. 

A farmer needs to prune fruit and blossoms to avoid fruit formation on immature trees to avoid producing dry fruit, save the nutrients, and invest them in maturing.

What are dried limes? (Those intentionally turned into dry lime fruit)

Black lime fruits

Dried limes are Persian limes that have blanched and dried either in the sun or in the oven under low heat for about 2-3 days. Black limes are popular in Eastern Asian cuisines. 

In many dishes like soups, stews, and rice, black limes are used to infuse the sour, citrusy, but tasty flavor. Other times dried limes are ground into a powder and sprinkled over dishes.

Dry lime fruit benefits

1. Prevent heart disease

Dried limes contain beneficial potassium components, which are great for heart muscles. Potassium strengthens and regulates the pumping of blood. 

It also lowers blood pressure and reduces cholesterol. Generally, loomi promotes a healthy heart.

2. Cure indigestion

Black limes can cure diarrhea and other gastric related problems. Black limes also boost the immune system. 

They also are a natural cleanser for the digestive system; it relieves constipation and opens the appetite and promote general gut health.

3. Detox

Dried limes expel harmful bacteria, waste, and other toxins out of the body because of their cleansing properties.

4. Mineral-rich and contain vitamin C and D

They contain considerable amounts of folic acid, B vitamin, and amino acid. They also have traces of minerals like calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, which aids in producing new cell formation.

Dried limes fight inflammation, common cold and raise the immune system’s efficiency because they are in vitamin C. It also protects the body from viral infections and stress.

It Increases physical movement, prevents osteoporosis, strengthens the bones, muscles, and teeth thanks to the calcium and vitamin D.

5. It has anti-cancer properties.

Anti-cancer properties prevent the DNA change, which is the precursor for cancer because they contain compounds reported to stop cell division in numerous cancer cell lines. Work as a natural antibiotic too.

How to make dry lime fruit

The procedure for making black limes is simple and straightforward. Guess what you don’t have to be a chef or arborist or any professional to make dried lime.

Steps in making dry lime fruit (black limes)

This black lime recipe is for 12 limes. You can change the quantities to march the number of limes you have and your rate preference.

1. Select the limes and wash them.

Select the limes to use for making loomi

Choose any 12 limes you have and wash under running water for about 30 seconds. Any Persian limes will do for this recipe. There are no special criteria.

Also, if you have limes dried on the tree, this is a good way to put them to some good use and avoid wasting them altogether.

2. Measure 1 liter of water in a pan. 

Measure about 1 liter of water into a pan and set on a heating source, and bring to a boil.

3. Add 1.5 tablespoons of salt to the water.

In case you are not a salt fan, you can skip out on the salt or put less salt. But honestly speaking, salty loomi is so much better.

Add one and a half teaspoons of salt to the boiling water.

4. Blanch the limes on the salt-water solution for 60-90 seconds. 

Add the limes to the brine and Blanche for 60 to 90 seconds. No more than 90 seconds because you don’t want to cook the limes.

5. Remove the limes and transfer them to an ice-water bath.

After at most 90 seconds in the brine, remove the limes and put them in ice water for 4-5 minutes until they cool down. 

6. Dry the limes

This is the last step in black lime making. You can dry the limes under the sun or in an oven at low heat over 2-3 days.

You know that your limes are fully dry when the zest turns brown to black, and the fruit feels hollow.

Now that you can make your own black limes, here is a list of my favorite dishes that use black limes

  • Chicken with Black Limes
  • Chicken & Kidney Bean Persian Stew
  • Black lime tea


1. Why are my limes dry?

There are many reasons why limes may dry, including poor watering frequency and soil infertility. If your limes are drying, you should try watering adequately and fertilize the soil frequency.

2. Can you rehydrate dry lime fruit?

When limes have dried on the tree, you cannot rehydrate them; however, after harvesting, if the limes were harvested on time, you can revive them by sitting them in warm water for a minute and transferring the limes to a cold water bowl.

3. What can you do with dried limes?

Dried limes can be used in many dishes, including rice, stew, soups, and meats. Limes are known to add a dimension of funky, sour, and citrusy flavor to any dish.

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