Lime caviar, oh là là!

CC Image: Eric Weisser

CC Image: Eric Weisser

A few years back, Mark introduced me to The Fruit Hunters, a book about "exotic fruits and the obsessives that hunt them." I read the book, and as if infected with some Lovecraftian curse, I am now a Fruit Hunter, too.

I have an endless hunger to find new fruit to eat. Rambutans, cherimoyas, Ugli fruit, prickly pears, little red bananas that tasted like raspberries...I've had them. I comb Chinatown, the Mission, Japantown, Little Viet Nam, farmer's markets, and Sacramento valley produce stands, all in the search for new fruits.

One of my favorite finds is the finger lime. It's the size and shape of a gherkin, with the color and skin of a lime. When you slice it open, small, light-green pearls spill out. Squeeze the whole thing, and you have a pile of lime caviar, proving Mother Nature was doing molecular gastronomy before it was cool.

The pearls pop in your mouth and release bursts of bright, sour lime juice. I like to slice a lime in half, and squeeze the contents into my mouth.

I had been searching for these for a number of years, but they were imported from New Zealand, limited, and expensive. Now they're grown here in the USA, and cost quite a bit less. Interestingly, because the taste is so intense, the only ways I've seen them used are garnish at fou-fou restaurants, or toppings for cocktails.

You know who would love finger limes besides Foodies? Little kids. Once The Children become aware of them, I predict they're going to become quite popular. "Squeeze super sour lime guts right into my mouth? Gimme, gimme!"

Anyway, like I said at the beginning, I'm a Fruit Hunter, and it's all Mark's fault.

Finger limes can be purchased at Shanley Farms.