Are Limes Unripe Lemons

Are Limes Unripe Lemons? What’s The Difference?

Cooking Tips

People often mix up limes and lemon because they have similar sizes and shapes but it is good to note that they are different. The question most asked by people is whether or not limes are unripe lemons or if they are an entirely different fruit.

Fully ripe lemons that are set to get picked are a vibrant and bright yellow, meanwhile, limes are considered to be more green. Limes left on the tree until they get completely ripe will usually turn yellow and that is why people have the thought that unripe lemons are the same as limes but that is not the case.

Lemon has a sour taste while the taste of lemon is more bitter, they are both popular and also very healthy with various differences and similarities and that’s what we want to check in this guide.

Lemons vs Limes

Lemons and limes are considered to have close relation but they contain different genetic components and they are also grown in different areas. Limes are usually grown in tropical and subtropical environments while lemons are grown traditionally in moderate climatic area. They are both similar in scents and taste and both are known for having acidic and bitter flavors and they are both used the same way in baking or cooking and that means that can replace each other.

These two fruits are both popular for their properties of essential oils and this makes them useful for cosmetic and medical purposes and they also add to some cleaning products scents as well as grease-busting power.


Physical Differences Between Lemons and Limes

Limes and lemons look similar in their shape when seen from the distance, however, they are a little different from each other. Lemons have a size that is twice of limes with a diameter between two and four inches having a more oval shape while limes are rounder and smaller with a diameter between one and two inches.

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Limes are considered quite green when ripe while lemons have a more vibrant and bright yellow color. Some of the limes will still turn yellow when they age and that could make it more difficult to differentiate between both of these fruits. Lime trees are more slender and soften shorter, having small leaves while lemon trees instead have large oblong leaves with very broad branches with the tree itself growing up to they are 20 feet.


Types of Limes and Lemons

We have a minimum of 25 types of lemon that have been documented but the most popular types include Meyer, Lisbon, and Eureka lemons. The most popularly used is the Eureka lemons because they usually grow all year round. Meanwhile, Lisbon lemons appear a bit similar but their nub on an end is smaller and they usually grow inside cold weather on the thorny tree. Eureka trees are thorn-less and they prefer warmer weather.

Meyer lemons are gotten when you combine lemon and sweet orange. They are usually juicer and sweeter than any of the other two and they have a yellow-orange flesh. We use Meyer lemons mostly in dessert meals like lemon bars.


We have about 20 types of lime and there varietal differences are quite more obvious as compared to lemons Key Lime is considered to be the most common and they are more acidic, rounder, and yellower than other limes. This particular varietal has its origin from Florida Keys where it got its name. They are now grown largely in Mexico where they are no longer referred to by the name but they still have the same taste.

A much smaller lime than some other types is the Blood limes that have blood-red colors. Their taste is sweeter and they cross between the lime and mandarin orange. Limes used in zesting some certain dishes are the Kaffir limes and they also add some fragrance to oil. These types of limes are round and very bumpy with a bit bitter minimal juice.


Eating Limes and Lemons

Both limes and lemons have a closely related acidic taste but limes are more bitter while lemons are sourer. Limes have a pH that is a bit more alkaline while lemons have a pH that is more acidic with a value below 7. People tend to prefer lemons to limes because limes are more bitter.

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How to Eat Lemons

Check below for some of the ways you can eat your lemons:

  • Lemon meringue pie: added to a tangy dessert
  • Lemon flank steak: lemon wedges and fresh lemon juice usually brighten up and enhance the perfect flavor of a steak.
  • Green beans together with lemon: add fresh slices of lemon to your green beans and any other delicious and sautéed greens that most especially have a little bit of toasted crunchy walnuts.
  • Lemon juice: can be taken alone, added to water, can be turned to ice cubes and you can use it to flavor adult beverage.
  • Lemon zest or peel: you can use the healthiest portion of a lemon to make a tea or flavor your sauces.

Some fun facts: a lot of people eat lemons by adding sea salt or salt itself to their warm lemon water glass to help increase the immune function, improve digestion, and regulate the fluid balance.

How to Eat Limes

Limes could be healthy and delicious despite being bitter and they can be used for several recipes. Check below for some of them:

  • Fruit salad: limes can best be combined with strawberries, oranges, and raisins.
  • Tangy salsa: lime juice and a chunk of lime can be added for a tropical zing to salsa.
  • Sparkling lime water: to get your homemade spritzer, squeeze your fresh lime juice in sparkling water.
  • Ceviche: freshly-squeezed lime juice is used to make the best sets of ceviche recipes.
  • Key lime yogurt or pie: to get a twist, add key lime juice to vanilla yogurt.

Nutritional Comparison: Limes and Lemons

Per One Fruit Raw Lime (67 g)    

Raw Lemon (108g)

Calories 20.1 21.6
Grams Daily Value Grams Daily Value
Carbohydrates 7.1 11.6
Fat 0.1 0.3g
Fiber 1.9 5.1
Protein 0.5g 1.3
Sugar 1.1g ~
Vitamin C 32% 139%
Vitamin B6 1% 6%
Calcium 2% 7%
Iron 2% 4%
Vitamin A 1% 1%
Magnesium 1% 3%
Copper 2% 14%

Lemon Benefits and Side Effects

They have a high content of vitamin C and they also contain fiber and some other plant compound benefits that help to lower the risk of stroke and heart disease and it also helps to manage weights. Lemon water and lemons are usually promoted as food for weight loss because they contain a soluble pectin fiber that helps to expand the stomach to help feel more full for longer.

Benefits and Disadvantages of Limes

They are high in the content of vitamin C that is used to boost the immune system. Limes also contain iron, potassium, and vitamin B6 in small amounts. Certain antioxidants together with vitamin C help to promote healthy skin by protecting the skin against dryness and age. Limes function to improve iron absorption that helps to lower the risk of some cancers, heart diseases, and kidney stones.

Are Limes Unripe Lemons
Are Limes Unripe Lemons

People rarely report negative effects of limes but it is not impossible that they have. Lime could cause you to have difficulties in your breathing when you are allergic to citric fruits. It can also cause swelling and hives. Because of its acidity, when you eat lime too much, it may cause difficulty in swallowing, heartburn, nausea, and vomiting.

Which is Healthier – Lemon or Lime?

Both of them are very healthy with several health benefits that help to in the reduction of risk of cancer, kidney stones, and generally help to increase the overall body wellbeing. It has been discovered that lemons are greater in their amount of vitamins as well as minerals like vitamin C, vitamin B6, folate, and potassium and people usually favor them for their flavor. Lemons are the best option if you are at the point where you need to decide between lemons and limes.

Related Questions

Where do limes come from?

They have their origin from Southeast Asia and they are usually grown in subtropical and tropical climates. They were introduced to Northern Africa and Egypt by Arab traders in the tenth century. They are available all over the world and 40% of their production are from Brazil and Mexico.

What are the lime water benefits?

There are several health benefits associated with lime water and because it adds more burst of flavor to the bland beverage. Check below for some of the health benefits of lime water that might be helpful to you:

  • Improves your immune system
  • Promotes the loss of weights
  • Lowers the chances to contact a cancer
  • Aid digestion
  • Improves diet

Is a lemon a fruit or a vegetable?

According to botany, plants that are edible and contain seeds are said to be a fruit. A plant reproduces from the seed and both limes and lemons contain seeds inside and that means they both are fruits.

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