I had intended to mention lime leaves as something to eat earlier in spring. When I first thought of it they were yet to emerge, then time whizzed by and it was only when I came across this tree with flower buds waiting to burst that I remembered. The heart-shaped leaves of lime trees are much nicer than most trees’ leaves which are too full of tannin to be palatable to most people. You need to eat them when they are young and almost translucent, though. Then, they are succulent with an agreeable mild flavour. Add them to a salad or graze on them in situ.
Soon the blossoms will emerge and emit their tantalising sweet smell which is discernible hundreds of yards away. Bees are irresistibly attracted to them. At this stage the flowers can be gathered – bracts included – and a handful used fresh to make a relaxing tisane for the summer. Be sure to pick only heads that are still creamy coloured rather than turning brown. You can also dry the flowers and keep in an airtight jar to enjoy later in the year, although by then I crave richer, more pungent flavours.
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