Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Summer. Summer Wonders, “What is a Finger Lime?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Summer!

You’ve probably heard how important vitamins are. Without them, your body can’t function the way it’s supposed to. People need many vitamins and nutrients to stay healthy. They need calcium, iron, vitamin C, and many others. But where do all those vitamins come from?

Many people get calcium from milk. Iron can be found in most types of beans. You might get your vitamin C from oranges. It’s true, oranges are a great source of vitamin C. However, another fruit outpaces oranges in the vitamin C race. It’s called the finger lime.

Finger limes have three times the amount of vitamin C as oranges! Have you ever heard of them? They’re pretty rare. Some people call them caviar limes or gulalang. Finger lime trees grow naturally on the east coast of Australia. People have also brought them from Australia to grow in California.

Why are finger limes so rare? There are a couple of reasons. First, the trees that grow finger limes are pretty picky. While they can live in a variety of climates, they prefer very warm areas. That’s why they only grow naturally on the east coast of Australia.

However, there used to be many more finger lime trees in Australia. They were once very common in many areas of the country. For centuries, Aboriginal Australians ate finger limes and used them for medicine. When Europeans moved to Australia, they needed land to build their homes and start farms. They cleared away many finger lime trees to do so, making the fruit much rarer. That’s why finger lime trees only grow on Australia’s east coast today.

Are you WONDERing what finger limes look like? They’re tube-shaped and come in many colors. Finger limes can be yellow-green, red, purple, or black. But the real surprise comes when you cut them open! Inside, the fruit is full of tiny colored balls. That’s where the fruit got the nickname “caviar limes”! These are the pulp of the finger lime. It can be green, yellow, red, or pink. 

The taste of finger limes also varies. Limes with pink pulp are typically sweet. Those with green pulp are more tart. People sometimes eat finger limes by themselves. However, the fruit also has many uses in cooking. Chefs add finger limes to seafood, desserts, and even pasta! There’s a use for any color of finger lime.

Finger limes have several vitamins that people need. Besides their high vitamin C content, finger limes are also a good source of vitamin E, folate, and potassium. They’re not a very well-known fruit. However, the popularity of finger limes is growing. Since they’re still so rarely grown, finger limes can cost up to $150 per pound!

That’s one expensive fruit! As finger limes become more common, the price will likely drop. For now, though, they’re a rare delicacy. Most people in the US can’t find finger limes in grocery stores or restaurants near them.

Have you ever tried a finger lime? Are there other rare fruits you enjoy? The next time you come across an unfamiliar fruit, give it a try! That’s the best way to find new food to enjoy and add variety to your diet.

Standards: NGSS.LS2.A, NGSS.ESS3.C, CCRA.L.3, CCRA.L.6, CCRA.R.1, CCRA.R.2, CCRA.W.2, CCRA.W.9, CCRA.L.1, CCRA.L.2, CCRA.R.4, CCRA.R.10, CCRA.SL.1, CCRA.W.7

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