Have You Noticed That Limes Are Suddenly Crazy Expensive?

Ingredient Intelligence

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Have you noticed that limes are suddenly wildly more expensive than they used to be? When I read that the average price for a lime in U.S. grocery stores is now 53 cents, up from 21 cents, I had to laugh. I'd love to find 50-cent limes. I've been paying up to $1.50 for a single measly lime in my grocery store. Have you noticed this too? Here's why limes suddenly went sky-high.

We're in the middle of what should be peak lime harvest in Mexico. Mexico is by far the largest producer of limes for the U.S. market, but it's been a bad year in the lime groves. There was terrible weather when the trees were budding in the spring; storms knocked buds off trees and essentially killed off much of the developing crop. Add to that drug cartel unrest in the largest lime-growing region, and you have soaring lime prices.

Bars are cutting back, margarita festivals are worried, and even airlines have nixed the garnish.

→ Read more: Soaring Lime Prices Put Squeeze On Restaurants, Food Lovers at NPR

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I cannot find limes in my area for under a dollar apiece, and they are often much more. Oh margaritas, you're costly these days!

So, what to do? L.V. Anderson at Slate recommends just substituting lemons. And before you wail about how different limes and lemons are, check out Slate's blind taste test; can you tell the difference between limes and lemons?

Are limes expensive in your area? If you have a lime tree, consider selling your "green gold" to local bars. Or at least cashing them in for a summer-long supply of free margaritas.

(Image credits: Sara Kate Gillingham; Faith Durand)

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