Lime Overload! How To Use Up Lots Of Limes

blue bowl filled with fresh green limes

If you are lucky enough to have your own lime tree, you may find that there are times when you have lots of limes all ripening at the same time. Or when limes are in season, your local store might be selling bulk limes at a great price. Fresh limes are wonderful and should never be allowed to go to waste. If you are having trouble thinking of ways to use them all, you’ll love these ideas for using up lots of limes. And they don’t all involve lots of cooking!

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When life gives you limes…

I am lucky enough to have two Tahitian lime trees in pots on my veranda. Despite their small size, they produce lots and lots of limes throughout the year. During Autumn/Fall in particular I always have a huge crop of delicious fresh limes to use up. While I love cooking with limes, sometimes life is busy and there just isn’t time to use them all before they are past their best. Here are some of my favourite ways to use limes – or to make them last longer so I can use them later.

collage of preserved limes. lime marmalade, vase with lime slices and fresh lime with text "what to do with lots of limes"

Decorating with limes

Fresh limes look (and smell) beautiful displayed in a simple bowl in the kitchen, or even in a living room. Fill a bowl with limes and place it on a hallstand or your dining table for simple but elegant decorating.

blue, purple and green hydrangeas in a glass vase decorated with slices of lime

If you are feeling more creative, why not decorate a flower vase with lime slices? It’s much easier and quicker than you think. You can find step by step instructions in our post on decorating a vase with lemon slices.

A vase decorated with slices of limes looks wonderful filled with fresh flowers or greenery. Choose flowers in colours that go with lime green, like shades of pink, blues or crisp white.

Easy ways to add lime to food and drink

There are so many things you can do with a squeeze of lime juice or a slice of lime.

Make refreshing flavoured water

Lime and cucumber slices with herbs in water in a glass jug

Adding some slices of lime to your water is a great way to add some flavour and encourage you to drink more. You can add lime to still or sparkling water, or even pop some slices in your water bottle.

Try a mix of lime and cucumber slices, or add some fresh herbs like mint. When added to pretty glass pitcher or jug, this is a lovely way to serve water to guests.

Garnish or mix a cocktail

Gin and tonic in a glass with slices of lime and rosemary in front of a silver  ice bucket

For those who are wanting something more than water to drink, lime is the perfect partner for a refreshing summer cocktail. My favourite is to add slices of lime to a gin and tonic, best served in a tall glass with lots of ice.

Lime juice is also a key ingredient in many popular cocktails like a mojito, lime margarita or a daiquiri.

Add lime to fresh fruit

A little lime juice can add a burst of fresh flavour to any sliced fruit. But did you know that the citric acid in lime juice can also stop cut up fruits from turning brown? Try squeezing a little fresh lime juice over cut apple or avocado.

citrus fruit salad in a green Japanese bowl on a rattan mat

This can be a great way to stop apples in a fruit salad from turning brown if made ahead of time. Lime juice also adds light and fresh flavour.

For a more sophisticated fruit salad using lime juice, try our recipe for citrus fruit salad with vanilla cardamom syrup.

Dressings and marinades

Lime juice is also a versatile ingredient for making marinades and salad dressings. You can swap lime juice for lemon juice in traditional vinaigrette dressings to get a totally different flavour.

lime and chili (chilli) salad dressing in a white ceramic spoon with fresh limes and chili slices
Image: Allergy Spot

This chili and lime salad dressing is perfect for making a salad with a hint of Thai flavours to salads. You can also use it on steamed vegetables for extra flavour.

It’s also ideal for marinating chicken. Just pour over chicken pieces in a glass dish, cover and leave in the fridge for an hour or so before cooking. We also love that this simple dressing is gluten free and allergy friendly.

Try your hand at making ceviche

Making ceviche is a great way to use limes. Lime juice contains citric acid that works to ‘cook’ the fish, by changing the structure of the proteins. No heat required! This simple but extremely tasty way to prepare fish is a popular Latin American dish, although there are now many different variations around the world,

fish ceviche on a grey stoneware plate with fresh limes on a marble bench

Ceviche is usually made with a firm fresh fish like snapper or halibut. I’ve also made it with kingfish and I know people who prefer to use scallops or prawns/shrimps.

To make ceviche, cut the fish into small cubes and then marinate in lime juice, chilli and a little salt with other flavours such as herbs like cilantro (coriander) to taste. Other recipes add cucumber or red onion to the mix. The fish needs to marinate until it changes colour from translucent to opaque white. I find that about 45-60 minutes is best.

Ceviche is often served with tortillas, on it’s own or sometimes with avocado and fresh tomato salsa.

Do some baking with limes

There’s a tendency to associate lemons with baking, but many of the sweet recipes that call for lemons can also be made with limes. Instead of adding lemon zest to a cake or cookies, or drizzling your baked goods with lemon icing, try substituting limes instead.

vegan coconut and lime loaf cake on wooden board with 2 fresh limes and lime leaves
Image: Allergy Spot

One of my favourite quick and easy cakes is this vegan lime and coconut cake. It only uses a handful of ingredients, including fresh limes for both zest and juice to add a lovely zesty flavour. It’s also dairy free and allergy-friendly, with no eggs or milk.

Ways to keep limes for longer

If you have more limes than you are going to be use while they are still fresh, there are lots of different things you can do to preserve them. Jams, pickles, preserves, dehydrating and freezing are all great options.

Make lime marmalade

lime marmalade in a glass jar with fresh lime halves and marmalade on toast on a blue and green plate

Making jams and marmalades can seem daunting and might seem like something you don’t have time to do. Our very easy lime marmalade recipe is the perfect way to try your hand at making marmalade.

This quick and easy marmalade recipe has just a handful of ingredients. It has step by step instructions for making delicious tangy marmalade. There are also tips for an easy way to check if your marmalade is ready to set (no thermometer required) and how to sterilise jars for storage.

Preserve extra limes

You’ve probably heard of preserved lemons, but what about preserved limes?

preserved limes in a glass jar with chilli and bay leaves in front of greenery

Preserved limes are a great way to use up excess fresh limes. Our simple small batch preserved lime recipe uses limes with salt, herbs and spices to create a beautiful flavoured condiment. It’s perfect for serving with Morroccan style dishes and adding flavour to meals.

Try your hand at dried limes slices

Dehydrated or dried citrus slices are really popular at the moment, for everything from decorating to garnishes.

jars of dehydrated citrus slices including jar of dried limes slices and jars of dried orange slices

Drying your own citrus slices at home is really very easy to do. You don’t need to own a dehydrator (although they are very handy). You can learn how to make your own dried lime slices in the oven in our post about oranges. Just keep in mind that limes are a little smaller and won’t need as much drying time.

Dried lime slices are gear to have on hand on the pantry, but they also make a great gift.

Freeze limes to use later

Freezing citrus is something people often overlook. It’s a great way to save citrus fruit to use later in your favourite recipes.

bowl of limes, lime juicer, juice in ice cube tray and chopping board

Freezing lime juice in handy portions is a great idea to make sure you always have lime juice on hand whenever you need it. Or try freezing lime zest or slices to add to recipes at a later date. Did you know you can even freeze whole limes? Our post on freezing limes for later has tips for freezing all the different parts of a lime.

Gifting limes to friends

Fresh produce – especially home grown – can make a very thoughtful gift. If you are visiting friends or family, take some of your extra limes as a gift. To make it extra special, wrap your limes in a lovely tea towel or basket.

More about limes

When working your magic with limes, you’ll need to make sure you have the right tools for the job. Make sure to read our list of essential citrus kitchen tools for the best ways to slice, juice, zest and more.

For more inspiration for growing and using limes, make sure to subsscribe.

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