The Secret Ingredient Every Mexican Recipe Needs

No Mexican kitchen is ever complete without an ample supply of fresh, juicy limes. After you read how you can use limes to enhance everything from drinks to dessert, you'll keep your kitchen stocked, too!

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Choose Your Lime

Mexican limes are the type of lime stocked in kitchens and restaurants in Mexico. Botanically, Mexican limes are the same as the small Key limes most of us recognize for their use in luscious Key lime pie. South of the border, limes are used to enhance everything from drinks to desserts, with special emphasis on meals in between. To give your Mexican dishes authentic flavor, or to perk up any dish, pick up some small Mexican limes if you can find them. If not, use traditional Persian (Tahitian) limes, which are the type available in most American supermarkets.

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Use in Drinks

Add thin slices of lime to a pitcher of ice water for a refreshing summer sipper, and try lime instead of lemon in your iced tea. In cocktails, use thin slices of lime as a garnish, or muddle lime in the bottom of the glass for a refreshing burst of flavor. Try a Minty Lime Refresher or a Lime Margarita at your next party.

Add Zest to Dinner

Cut several limes into wedges for serving in a bowl at the table to accompany a meal so guests can squeeze as much or as little lime juice over their food as they like. Try it with traditional Tacos al Pastor and you'll see exactly how a little lime juice elevates every bite! In addition to brightening up your favorite cocktails and adding zest to any dish you serve, limes make a necessary addition to some of our favorite Mexican and Mexican-inspired foods. Adding a bit of lime juice to purchased salsa is a way to instantly add a homemade taste.

Enhance the Flavor

In addition to preventing avocados from browning, lime juice lifts up the flavor of this Chunky Guacamole, which is the perfect partner for Chicken and Green Chile Tamales (they benefit from the addition of lime juice, too). Lime makes a bright finishing statement in these Fish Tacos with Lime Sauce and in the lime mayo in these Jerk Pork Wraps.

Make Dazzling Desserts

Use finely grated lime zest (just the thin green outer layer of the lime) to add flavor to desserts or for topping dishes with an extra burst of tart citrus. Give this refreshing Lime & Lemon Ice Cream a try!

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