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7 January 2024

The Year of the Lime

According to the Chinese Calendar, 2024 marks the Year of the Dragon (starting February 10). At my garden, however, it's the Year of Citrus. So much so that I'd like to propose a romantic Valentine's Day dinner, not to be launched with roses, but with lemons and limes—and, naturally, with dogs (I've got four).  


Apologies to California: Your Limes Excel

Pardon me, California, and all other ravishing-citrus-proliferation states and countries (hello Mexico) for what you're about to see. Those limes below came from Zone 6A in New Jersey. Can you make out the faded green zebra stripes of the Eureka lemons that may be slightly less-than-ravishing-appearing on the outside. Inside, it's another story, one of sweet perfection. Pink-petal-colored pulp. 

I want you to really look at the warped exterior, and remember this: These lemons grew in Zone 6A. Citrus also fares okay with adequate protection in Zone 7. I am proud of my sweet babies that fruited despite adversity. Not to mention that Eureka lemons are poor producers in general, which is why they can fetch up to $6 per pound wholesale in New York.

Their destiny will be my Valentine's Day gimlets. The recipe is below the sexy-ugly lemons.

Lime Recipe: Vodka Gimlet Lime Recipe

Perfect Valentine's Day Cocktail

My favorite lime-inspired recipe for this cocktail came courtesy of a hotel located in the lime-nirvana state of California.

Vodka Gimlet recipe

2 1/2 ounces vodka (Use the best quality vodka you can afford, Gimlets are mostly Vodka!)
3/4 ounce fresh lime juice (I substituted with my tutti-frutti flavored lemons)
1/4 ounce simple syrup*

Place the glasses you are going to use in the freezer for and extra cold concoction.  Keep your Vodka in there too! Mix ingredients together in a Boston shaker (or in a cocktail mixing glass if you prefer it stirred) with ice, strain into a martini glass. Garnish with lime peel.

*Make simple syrup by mixing equal parts water and agave (or sugar) syrup. You can make it in advance and store in a mason jar.

*Try a sour to sweet ratio of 2:1.  If that's not too sweet enough for you, add enough simple syrup to make it a 1:1 ratio.

A variety of lime perfect for your Valentine

Another lime variety I'm in love with (not gonna try to grow it in New Jersey) is the finger lime. You can buy them in gourmet markets, and at Shanley Farms in California. 

The unusual finger lime is a micro-citrus, about three inches long. When you cut into the fruit, the pulp is packaged like caviar. Did i mention they go well with oysters??

The best source for a finger lime plant is Loggee.

The best source for Oysters? Janet Mavec's Oyster collection ;)

The small Oyster & pearl Necklace

Want more lime and garden inspiration?

Just in time for Valentine's Day, get that special someone a piece from our garden-inspired jewelry collection.