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Shikwasa limes are very small, averaging three centimeters in diameter, and are round, oblate, and slightly squat in shape, similar in size to a key lime. The thin rind is leathery, firm, riddled with indentations and pores, and transforms from dark green to yellow when mature. Underneath the rind, the flesh is dense, semi-juicy, divided into 10-12 segments, and orange, containing many large, cream-colored, inedible seeds. Shikwasa limes are aromatic with a scent reminiscent of oranges and are extremely sour and tart with an acidic, slightly sweet taste.
Shikwasa limes are available in the summer through late winter in Japan.
Shikwasa limes, botanically classified as Citrus depressa, are very small, tart fruits that are members of the Rutaceae family. Also known as Okinawa limes, Shikuwasa, Shiquasa, and Hirami lemon, Shikwasa limes are one of the only citrus fruits that grow wild and is also commercially produced in Japan. There are over one hundred different varieties of Shikwasa limes that are most commonly used in their immature, green state as a flavoring agent, but they can also be used in their mature, or kugani state and consumed raw. Shikwasa limes are favored for their fresh, tart flavor and are used in both sweet and savory applications.
Shikwasa limes are rich in vitamin C, vitamin B1, and vitamin E. They also contain a compound called nobiletin, which is a citrus flavonoid that may help reduce symptoms associated with lifestyle-related diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and atherosclerosis.
Shikwasa limes are best suited for both raw and cooked applications, showcased when used fresh as a finishing ingredient or garnish. The limes are typically used for their juice and added to marinades, vinaigrettes, sauces, ceviche, fruit salads, salsa, yogurt, and potato chips. The juice is also used to flavor sparkling water, smoothies, cocktails, beer, and fruit juices. In addition to savory applications, Shikwasa limes are used to flavor desserts such as ice cream, cookies, bread, pastries, and cakes and are used in syrups, jams, and marmalades. Shikwasa limes pair well with mint, cilantro, coriander, ginger, maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, fish such as salmon, yellowtail, and red snapper, meats such as poultry, duck, pork, and beef, rice, honey, and coconut milk. Fresh Shikwasa limes will keep 2-3 weeks when stored in a plastic bag and kept in a cool and dry place or in the refrigerator.
In Japan, Shikwasa lime trees are popular home garden plants on the island of Okinawa. Roughly translating to mean “eating acid” in Okinawan, Shikwasa limes are used for their sour juice in an alcoholic drink unique to Okinawa known as awamori, made from long grain indica rice. Shikwasa limes are also used to flavor sashimi and are used in household ingredients such as fabric softener and vinegar cleaners. Each year when the limes are in season, consumers from all over Asia including Korea and China travel to Okinawa to purchase the fruits and commodities containing the tangy fruit.
Shikwasa limes are native to the Okinawa archipelago on the Ryukyu islands and have been growing wild since ancient times, with one of the first references written in the Omoro-zoushi, an Okinawan text in the 16th-17th centuries. The limes then increased in popularity in the 1980s with the introduction of the juice industry, and in the early 2000s, a popular Japanese television program highlighted the fruit’s nutritional value, further increasing its reputation. Today Shikwasa limes can be found at farmers markets and specialty grocers, and are cultivated in the Okinawa prefecture, Kagoshima prefecture, and Wakayama prefecture of Japan and in the mountainous regions of Taiwan.
Recipes that include Shikwasa Limes. One is easiest, three is harder.
|Jannine Myers||Shikuwasa Sweet Bread|
|Olives For Dinner||Seaweed-Tofu Beignets with JalapeÃ±o and Shikuwasa Jam Paste|