Persian lime, or Citrus × latifolia: three and a half stars for what is usually a three star fruit. The Persian lime is your garden variety of lime: if you were to picture an ordinary lime, and it’s not a kaffir lime or a finger lime or a desert lime or a Key lime, then you would probably picture a Persian lime.
Limes are not a particularly versatile fruit, and there are really only a handful of situations in which limes can be correctly used. In these few situations, however, the lime makes a terrific case for its existence. For example, you can mix fresh lime juice with simple syrup and gin for a gimlet. A gimlet is an excellent way to use a lime, especially on a hot summer’s day. Or you could make a margarita with fresh lime juice, triple sec and tequila. A fantastic choice for a sunny afternoon, regardless of the season. You can even use limes as a garnish in your gin and tonic. Gin and tonic with lime is magnificent for any occasion, and is particularly well suited to the warmer climates where one must stay hydrated. These three uses alone justify the lime, and one can only assume that as the days inexplicably grow warmer, the lime will soon reach five stars.
I did not know how long it had been since we had left Salamander Manor. I remember that the day we left was exceptionally warm and dry, so perhaps it was that time of year. I must apologise for my imprecision here; I have never been particularly interested in the passage of time, and the names of the months, with their corresponding ordinals, elude me now. Not all facts elude me, however: I am not entirely simple. I am aware, for example, of the fact that my eldest nephew and I had left Salamander Manor on that exceptionally warm day in search of a palliative for my eldest nephew’s digestive condition. My eldest nephew’s condition, the result of a drapery mishap, was such that he could eat only a limited selection of citrus fruits including oranges and grapefruits. Everything else that entered his mouth simply returned back to its original container. For the sake of my nephew’s nutrition, we had set off in search of the grapefruit plantation that was on the mainland. Along the way, we had met a gentleman named Henry Erstwhile. Henry had made his fortune in masculinity-confirming toothbrushes, and lost his fortune on jingo stocks during the uncertainty. My nephew had then fallen gravely ill, having depleted the orange juice that was his sole source of nutrition. Unable to treat his illness with pharmaceutical medicine, we had chartered a boat and were now crossing the channel to the mainland in search of grapefruit.
Henry and I spent most of our time sitting on the deck fishing for herring, a sickly sort of fish that was only really good for burning. When we reached the mainland, we turned west and started to skirt the coast. In a few days we would have to choose whether to follow the coast the whole way to the grapefruit plantation, or whether we would attempt to cross the gulf. Crossing the gulf would get us to the plantation in half the time, but I did not know whether my eldest nephew, unconscious and strapped to his bunk, would withstand the rigours of the open sea. His arms and legs were still badly bruised where he had tumbled against his bunk in earlier bouts of bad weather. I still had time to decide, anyway.
In the distance, several poles jutted out of the sea at regular intervals. As we got closer I saw that they were attached to a mostly-submerged structure of concrete girders. It appeared to be the remains of some sort of wharf or jetty. I guessed that at some point the tides had changed, and then the newly-submerged wooden planks had rotted away to leave only a concrete outline.
The old jetty was only fifty metres or so from the land, where there were a couple of rusty shipping containers. Henry, with cunning business acumen, suggested that we go check the containers for food. Behind the container, we came across an old woman lying on a deck chair. On the ground next to the woman was a pile of spent limes. I grew hopeful at the sight of the citrus. I introduced myself, and explained that we were looking for grapefruit.
“All I have for sale today”, the woman slurred, “are these here limes.”
I asked if she had any whole, unsucked limes left, rather than selling us the pre-sucked limes. She got up, steadying herself on the chair, and closed and bolted the container behind her.
“No”, she said, and flopped back down.
The woman was clearly a miser, as well as a tosspot. But spent fruit was still fruit, and it might do my nephew some good to suck on some lime remnants. I let Henry negotiate the deal, and eventually we agreed to give the tosspot a decilitre of herring oil to run her lamps in exchange for the pile of juiced limes.
Back on the boat, Henry and I spent the rest of the day squeezing out the remaining pith and juices as best we could. Rather than risk having the liquid return from my nephew’s mouth, I poured the liquid straight into his saline drip. I hope he wakes up soon.