Citrus Aurantifolia

Although not a vegetable, dayap or lime is an integral part of the diversified Filipino cuisine. It is one of the most popular ingredient in our native dishes such as sinigang and pinangat. As a souring agent, just like sampalok (tamarind) and kamias (bilimbi averrhoa) sinigang, (sour soup) would not be sinigang without it. The juice when use as a drink is very refreshingly delicious just like the calamansi. The zest is also use for flavoring our popular desserts like the famous leche flan or crème brulee’, gelatine desserts and crème pies. It is also use in cosmetics as perfumes, soaps and shampoos.

Dayap is the equivalent of the Tahitian lime. Kaffir lime is also grown in my hometown but it is not as popular as the regular lime. The tree grows up to 12 feet tall. The flowers are white to pale pink in color and very fragrant and attracts many bees. The leaves are dark green and shiny. The leaves of the Kaffir lime are used as flavoring for soups and other Thai dishes.

Dayap can be propagated from seeds, stem cuttings, grafting and air layering. It needs full sun and being a tropical plant, it will not stand frost. It will need a little bit of calcium so amend the soil with lime when you plant it in the ground. It needs to be watered well during the first few weeks after planting. It would also need a balanced fertilizer every three months to strengthen the tree and be vigorous for the next two years and the third year would be when it would need bloom-plus fertilizer and you will start picking lime fruits in no time.