Are Limes Unripe Lemons?

by Charlie

Limes and lemons both come from the citrus fruit family; however, they are known by different biological names. While lime is known scientifically as Citrus Aurantifolia, lemon is called Citrus Limon.

When it comes to physical differences, there are a few notable ones that can help you tell the difference. Even though both fruits turn from green to yellow when they ripen, lemons are typically sold when ripe (i.e. when the colour is yellow), while limes are sold when they are still unripe (i.e. a shade of green).

Are limes unripe lemons? No, limes are not unripe lemons. While both fruits look alike and can be easily confused, they are, in fact, quite different.

The shape of both fruits is also a good differentiator. Limes are typically rounder and smaller, measuring between one to two inches. Lemons, on the other hand, are bigger and more oval in shape, they also can measure up to 4 inches in shape.   

Can Limes Be Used in Place of Lemons?

Another reason limes get confused with lemons is that they taste quite similar. The tart, mouth-smacking taste of both fruits is familiar to anyone who has tasted either. 

Yes, limes can be used in place of lemons. In fact, it is the best substitute due to its similarity in taste.  

However, you should know that limes and lemons don’t taste exactly the same. Limes are slightly more acidic than lemon. They also have a slightly bitter taste. 

Lemons are acidic too but less so than limes. In addition, they also have a slightly sweet taste to them. However, both fruits are so confusing that most people cannot identify which they’ve tasted.

Although you can replace lemons with limes in most dishes without adverse effects, you should keep in mind that it will change the taste, even if slightly.

Why Do Limes Have No Seeds but Lemons Do?

One thing you might have also noticed is that most limes don’t have seeds while lemons, their bigger cousins, do.

The reason is that most lime fruits are parthenocarpic fruits, i.e. they don’t need seeds to reproduce. Fruits that can reproduce without fertilization are known as parthenocarpic fruits. 

Although it is often artificially induced, parthenocarpy can happen naturally in the wild. It typically happens as a way for the plants to protect the seeds of the plants from animals, especially animals that feed exclusively on seeds. 

One of the advantages of parthenocarpic fruits is that you don’t have to worry about biting into or swallowing seeds. They also tend to have a longer shelf life than other kinds of fruits.

Is Drinking Water with a Lime Taste Better?

Yes, drinking water with lime is a popular way for people who don’t like the bland taste of water to get their daily fill. It has also been rumored to have some health benefits.

Many people don’t like the bland taste of water. Yet, water is important for our daily living. Scientists recommend anywhere between 11 to 15 glasses of water per day for adults. Mixing water with some lime juice makes it a bit more flavorful. It also has added potential health benefits including detoxification, aiding digestion, improving skin etc. 

Which is Better for the Skin: Limes or Lemons?

If you are buying a natural skin care product, it’s not unusual to see one of lime or lemon listed on the skin. They are also regularly recommended as a part of natural or homemade skincare routines people can try.

Both fruits contain a range of compounds that are immensely beneficial to the skin. Vitamin C is an antioxidant and helps in cleansing the system, including the skin. The popular vitamin can help the skin fight wrinkling, age spots, dull complexion and other skin blemishes.

Quercetin is another compound that can be found in both limes and lemons. The compound helps reduce inflammation in the body; which is a plus for the skin.

When it comes to skincare, the two fruits are not equal. Lemons contain more vitamin C and are less acidic than limes. Those two factors make lemon a better fit for your skincare needs than limes. However, the differences are so marginal that you can use them interchangeably.

Are There Any Risks for Consuming Too Much Limes or Lemons?

Much like with any other fruit, taking too many limes or lemons can have adverse effects on you. 

Both fruits are acidic, so consuming too much of either can lead to GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease) and heartburn. Both cases are caused by having too much acid in your stomach. Although they are both temporary health issues for most people, they can be highly uncomfortable to deal with.

The acids from the fruits can also wear your teeth’s enamel on. In most people, this leads to a yellowing of the teeth, accompanied by higher dental sensitivity and eventually, cavities.

Another thing that may bother you is an allergic reaction. Limonene, a compound in both fruits, is a known allergen for some people. One of the symptoms of this is that the people get dermatitis symptoms when they touch the fruit peels. Such people might be able to drink the extracted juice but will have issues touching the peels.

Ideally, you should not have more than three lemons or limes in one day. 

Final Thoughts

Lemons and limes are two important members of the citrus family. They are also important to so many people all over the world for their flavor and health benefits. Here are a couple of thoughts we are leaving with you from this article.

  • Limes are not unripe lemons. They are two different fruits entirely.
  • Limes can be used in place of seed in most cases. However, it will slightly alter the taste.
  • Limes have no seeds because a good number of them are parthenocarpic. That means they can produce without seeds.
  • Drinking water mixed with lime is great for your health. The flavor lets you take in more water, and you get extra health benefits.
  • Lemon is better for your skin due to its lesser acidity and higher levels of Vitamin C.
  • Yes. Taking too many limes and lemons can give you adverse health effects.

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