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What’s the difference between limes and key limes?

It’s August and the celebration of summer foods continues, as we gorge on watermelon, all things caprese, and grilled goods every night. One more summer speciality we just can’t get enough of? Key Lime Pie. Of course, if you’ve ever made or eaten this tart and tasty pie, you might have asked yourself: What the heck is the difference between a regular, old lime and this fancy fruit called a “Key lime?”  Perhaps you’ve even gone to the grocery store, and wondered if you could substitute one for the other — particularly if your store doesn’t stock the teeny speciality Key limes. So what’s the difference between the two? Well, not really that much. The truth is that “regular” limes and Key limes can be used interchangeably in recipes without risking too much of a disaster. Though, without using Key limes, your Key lime pie is arguably just a “Lime pie.”…

Lovely lime squares bring just enough zing

If you’re a fan of all things citrus, you’re going to love these tart little lime squares. Just 5 ingredients give you a bright and cheery dessert that goes great washed down with hot tea or ice cold milk. I could pretty much commit to only eating desserts that incorporate citrus. I crave that light, refreshing, tongue twisting flavor. These lime bars aren’t overly zingy, but they have just enough pizazz to make them memorable. If you need to cut down, a small dollop of fresh whipped cream always does the trick. Make a batch for Mom on Mother’s Day or serve them in the winter when you need a cheery pick-me-up. They’re good any time you can find fresh limes at the market. Lime Squares Serves 9-16 Ingredients, Crust 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 6 tbsp sugar 12 tbsp cold butter, cut in small chunks Ingredients, Lime filling 1/4 cup…

Sweet and tart Southern lemon icebox pie

Lately, my flavor of choice for just about anything is lemon. Come spring, I crave that tart, cool flavor. This cheery lemon icebox pie is the perfect ending to a backyard barbecue, fish fry, or Easter dinner. But don’t get me wrong — I most enjoy it for breakfast the next morning. You will too — don’t judge. So, what makes lemon ice box pie different from lemon meringue pie? The latter is usually made with a lemon custard filling, while the former is made with a mix of citrus juice and sweetened condensed milk. And of course, one is topped with whipped egg whites formed into sky-high meringue peaks, and the other more commonly sweetened with a dollop of whipped cream. If you’re still unsure, know that you could actually use this recipe to make a killer key lime pie, just by swapping out the fruit. If you’re a fan…

Lemon lovers puff pastry tart

I confess. I have a serious thing for lemons: on my clothes, in my decor, and definitely in my desserts. The more tart lemon flavor in foods, the better. At this point in my addiction, I’m just a step away from biting directly into the bitter fruit to get my fix. Yesterday I had a hankering for something lemony and sweet but rather than fuss with meringues or cakes, I decided to get right to the good stuff. I had a puff pastry in the refrigerator and handful of lemon (because, of course!), so I got to work. This easy tart takes nearly no time. Very thinly slice two lemons and remove their seeds. Coat both sides of the slices in sugar, and arrange on top of the pastry puff. I also scored about a 1/4″ edge around the pastry to help give it a crust to grab on to.…

Mandarin orange Jell-O pretzel salad is refreshing and fun

If you’re a fan of foods that are crunchy, salty and sweet, there’s no way you’re not going to love this mandarin orange Jell-O pretzel salad recipe. The irresistible dish makes many appearances at many Midwest potlucks, but it’s just as easy to make for a backyard weeknight dinner with family or neighbors. Strawberry is the most common fruit used on this classic dish, but the cool, citrusy combination of mandarin and pineapple makes for a delicious update. Notes: I probably make this dish about once a year — not because I don’t love it, but because I can’t be trusted. I will eat the whole pan by myself if left without supervision. It’s just THAT GOOD. In no way is this a healthy recipe, but I do what I can to cut out unnecessary calories if possible. That said, if you like a creamier salad, add a full three or four cups of whipped…

9 Tips for making the perfect fruit salad

Summertime is synonymous with fresh fruit, so it’s no wonder why we consume so much fruit salad during these warm months. It’s sweet, refreshing and so easy to make, but for those in the know, there is actually more to it than just chopping up a bunch of fruit and tossing it in a bowl. Not all fruit salads are created equal. There are a few tricks you can follow to enhance the flavors and make the dish more pleasing to the eye. Here are 9 tricks to help you make your best fruit salads this summer, and all year long. 1. Buy fruit in season Fruit is flown in daily from around the world, but that doesn’t mean it’s fresh. It was likely picked weeks ago — before it was ripe and ready. It was packaged, bruised, stored and shipped before it ever made it to your grocery market. Instead, you…

Springtime lime cookies

These lime cookies are buttery and bursting with tangy citrus flavor. They’ll remind you of a pleasant spring day. Enjoy alone or with tea or milk. Just enjoy them before some else does — These cookies never last long! Springtime lime cookies Ingredients Icing 1/3 cup confectioners sugar 2 tbsp lime juice 1 tbsp butter, room temperature 1 tbsp lime zest Cookies 2 tbsp lime juice 1/3 cup milk 1/2 cup butter, room temperature 3/4 cup white sugar 1 egg 2 tbsp lime zest 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour 1 tsp baking powder 1/4 tsp baking soda Directions Preheat oven to 350ºF. In a small cup, combine the milk and 2 tbsp of lime juice. Let stand for up to 5 minutes. Add 3/4 cup sugar and butter in a large bowl and beat until light and fluffy. Add the egg and beat until combined. Add 2 tbsp lime zest and the…

Easy 6 ingredient lemon bars with poppy seeds

If you have a love of all things lemon, then this easy recipe will quickly become your new favorite go-to. It’s just six simple ingredients — including the crust. Waiting for the pan to cool before cutting into the lemon bars is honestly the hardest part. The sweet and tart flavors and the cheery yellow color make this dessert perfect for spring. Try it with lime juice instead for a unique twist on this classic recipe, or omit the poppyseed if they’re not your thing. lemon bars with poppy seeds Serves 9-16 Ingredients, Crust 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour 6 tbsp granulated sugar 12 tbsp cold butter, cut in small chunks 1 tbsp poppy seeds + 1 tsp. Ingredients, Lemon filling 1/4 cup all purpose flour 1 1/2 cups sugar 4 eggs 3/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice 1 tbsp lemon zest Directions Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line an 8×8 pan with parchment paper and set…

Grapefruit, avocado, capers, a flavorful salad for all seasons

Discounts can lead you to make some questionable choices. In one of those “I’m totally saving money” moments, I purchased an enormous jar of capers for two bucks at the market a few months ago. (It was 150 servings!) My love of the little briny flower buds is strong, but how many cups of capers can one person honestly eat? Since my excessive purchase, I’ve let them be my muse. You’d think a recipe like the one below would have started with the citrus at its center. But actually, it was the salty capers that lead me in. But no matter where you start in a recipe, it’s the final product that matters most. This recipe works all year round. Make it in the winter when citrus is in peak season. Or whip it up in summer when we have an endless appetite for all things fruity. The sour to semi-sweet grapefruit pairs perfectly with the smooth,…

This is the reason why pineapple leaves your mouth sore

Fresh, juicy pineapple can’t be beat. I could eat it all day, every day, but unfortunately, every time I try, I end up with a sore tongue and mouth — a stinging feeling. I decided to investigate why such a delicious food has such a terrible side effect. Most people think that it’s the acid from the fruit tearing up their mouth or that it’s the sign of an allergic reaction, but both of these explanations for the discomfort are probably incorrect. The irritation happens because pineapples contain bromelain, and enzyme that digests protein. The enzyme essentially attacks your tongue, cheeks and lips until it is swallowed. After that, your saliva and stomach acids both overtake the enzyme and denature it. When concentrated, bromelain is commonly used as a natural meat tenderizer, which explains a lot. Basically, your mouth = meat, and the pineapple is tenderizing (eating away at) your soft skin. This all sounds kind of scary,…