Finger Limes

We found these tiny delicacies while perusing the shelves at Central Market this weekend. Finger limes come from a tropical rainforest tree that grows naturally in Australia. While the seeds and trees migrated over to California in the 1960s, the fruit has only been grown commercially in the last five years. Small production, large demand.

The finger lime looks like a miniature pickle or gherkin, elongated in shape, but with that same tough lime skin. And how do you eat these crazy fruits? Just slice one in half and squeeze from the bottom up -- like you would a tube of toothpaste -- and out comes the fruit, tiny bubbles that look like a translucent, greenish-white caviar. Like other citrus fruits, they're tartly sour, but they sure create a satisfying mini-pop-explosion if you eat them straight.

So new are finger limes that we're just now beginning to experiment with them. Creative mixologists are starting to make finger lime cocktails, and Japanese chefs pair them smartly with sushi. Top your next dish -- chicken or fish -- with a few beads for a punch and a zing. They're $5.99 per container at Central Market, but they won't stay on the shelves long.

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