Nigella Lawson Is Obsessed with This Australian Citrus

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(Image credit: Kathy Hutchins)

Nigella Lawson just came back from Australia with a new obsession for finger limes, which she called “the future.” Considering that any time she puts on a new robe or uses a new mixer it sells out instantly, she’s probably right about the tiny Australian citrus fruits, too.

Finger limes are tiny, elongated citrus fruits that come in an array of colors, and the fruit inside them is made up of tiny little juice-filled spheres that hold their shape until you put them in your mouth. Then they burst open with a satisfying, juice-filled pop. Lawson called them “the caviar of the citrus world,” and they’ve also been likened to Pop Rocks.

When you slice open a finger lime and squeeze out the beads of what look like citrus caviar, you can basically use them wherever you’d use a regular lemon or lime. The shape adds a pleasing, interesting visual element, and the texture and “pop” is very cool. They’re excellent on any type of seafood or in salads, and they’re a lot of fun in cocktails.

Remember a few years ago when a lot of chefs got very into “spherification” and making little “caviar” balls out of everything from watermelon juice to olive oil? Finger limes are like that, but they just come out of the fruit that way.

Unfortunately, finger limes can be very difficult to find. When they’re in season from July to January, they sometimes show up at farmers markets in California, and there are a few West Coast growers who will ship to the rest of us. If you do manage to get your hands on them, one Nigella Lawson fan mentioned that they freeze very well, so you can buy them frozen and keep them that way until you want to use them. She suggested using them on stir-fries.

Lawson says she likes them mixed with excellent extra-virgin olive oil and sea salt flakes in the “empty belly of an avocado.”

Others liked them in ceviche or guacamole, as a garnish in a gin and tonic, floating in a glass of Champagne, and served even over pancakes. There’s really not much you can’t do with finger limes.

Have you ever tried finger limes?