Monday, 1 June 2015

Limau Purut... Kaffir Limes

This weekend marked the picking of our small crop of kaffir limes (limau purut). For me there is a beauty in these irregular, warty-skinned fruit.

The fruit itself lacks the culinary uses of the calamondin (limau kasturi)... the skin makes a useful zest while the modest amount of juice is rather astringent and can be used as a flavouring. Furthermore, one of our friends explained to me this weekend that the limau purut is a useful ingredient in shampoo! 
Notwithstanding this, the most important feature of the kaffir lime tree are the segmented, fragrant leaves which are used in the cuisines of many Southeast Asian cultures.

A harvest of limau purut and limau kasturi
We have experienced a little difficulty in establishing our kaffir lime tree. It lived for some years in a large tub. These days, it resides in a raised garden bed, appropriately close to our kitchen so that we can easily capture some of its wonderfully-scented leaves for our cooking. It has high cultural needs in such a situation... plenty of water, ample and regular organic fertilisers and a liberal dose of mulch each season. In fact, it responds dramatically when we re-nourish it with our home-made mulch. In addition to all this care and attention we provide it with a handful of Epsom Salts (magnesium sulphate) and garden lime at regular intervals.

It is a small tree, slow-growing, demanding and bearing few fruit... but those glorious leaves! 

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