Difference Between Lime and Lemon

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Lemons and limes are genetically different fruits, but they are closely related. There are some scientists who believe that lemons were originally produced as a hybrid fruit with limes and citrons which are a thick rind citrus fruit. This origin story of the lemon remains debated, but the fact remains that though limes and lemons appear to be similar, they are in fact distinctly different fruits.  

Both limes and lemons belong to the category of fruits called citrus fruits. This category includes oranges, tangerines, grapefruits, and citrons. Lemons belong to the scientific family called Citrus limon. Limes are part of the family called Citrus aurantifolia. Lemons can be grown successfully in moderate climates, but limes require a climate that leans more toward the tropical.  

Both limes and lemons are used in different industries in both fresh and processed forms. Limes and lemons are both known for their acidic and sour flavor. This had lent both lime and lemons their appeal to culinary traditions around the globe. Limes and lemons are both used in cooking, food preservations, and for flavor. 

The essential oils of limes and lemons are used for cosmetic and medicinal purposes. Many natural cleaning products use limes and lemons since the acids in both have antibacterial properties. 

What is a Lime?

Lime is a citrus fruit that is small, green, and can be found at your local grocery store. The most common are Persian limes, with most of the world’s limes grown in Mexico. Throughout the world, limes are commonly used in different cuisines – using bottled lime juice or fresh limes can really make a noticeable difference in the flavor of your dishes. Available year-round, limes are typically sold when they are a dark green color and turn a yellowish color as they ripen.

What is Lemon?

Bionomically known as Citrus Limon this fruit belongs to the Rutaceae family in the genus citrus which is also a home to the prominently and widely consumed fruits such as pomelo, tangerine, grapefruit, and oranges. This small round shaped fruit has a deceptive size as it houses many health benefiting nutrients that is even better than larger fruits belonging to this family. Lemon trees are a small ever green trees that tend to spread fast. They grow up to 10- 12 feet tall in cultivated plantations.

Key Difference

  1. Lemons are typically bigger, oval-shaped, and bright yellow in color, whereas limes are smaller, spherical, and green. 
  2. Ripe lemons generally have a ridged or bumpy surface. Ripe limes are generally dark green but some varieties, such as Key Limes, are pale yellow when they ripen. Ripe limes tend to have smooth skin.
  3. Lemons are larger and more oval, about 2 to 4 inches in diameter. Limes tend to be smaller than lemons, and are often much more rounded. They usually only reach between 1 and 2 inches in diameter.
  4. Difference between lime and lemon tree is that the fullest height the lime tree can achieve is 13 ft whereas lime tree can reach upto 20 feet.
  5. Lemon trees’ leaves tend to be oblong, elliptical and can grow up to 5 inches long. Lime trees’ leaves are smaller and generally aren’t more than 2 inches long.
  6. Lemon trees’ fruit will smell like lemons, while limes will display a strong lime scent.
  7. Lemons tend to have a thicker peel, while lime peels are quite thin.
  8. Both fruits are acidic and sour, but lemons have a sweeter flavor than limes, which have a bitterer flavor than lemons.
  9. Limes are considered to be healthier since they contain higher levels of vitamins and minerals such as vitamins A and C, calcium, folate, and phosphorus than other fruits and vegetables.Lemons have a higher acidity than other fruits and include nutrients such as potassium and magnesium.
  10. Lemons are hardier and can be found growing in moderate climates around the globe. Limes need a warmer temperature to grow and are often grown in tropical and subtropical climates.
  11. There are several species of limes such as the Key lime, Persian lime, makrut lime, and desert lime etc. Various species of lemon include: Verna lemon, Primofiori lemon, Bearss lemon, Dorshapo lemon, Lisbon lemon, Baboon lemon etc.
  12. When it comes to nutrition, lemons can be a bit on the more nutritious side compared to limes. Lemons contain 29 calories, 9 grams of carbs, 3 grams of fiber and 0 grams of fat. Limes contain 30 calories, 11 grams of carbs, 3 grams of fiber and 0 grams of fat.
  13. While lemons have more and are more citric, they also are an excellent source of potassium and magnesium. However, limes contain higher amounts of phosphorus, vitamins A and C, calcium, and folate.
  14. Limes are often used for more savory dishes, whereas lemons are used in both savory and sweet dishes.
  15. Lime has a very fine and smooth skin, which is not allowed to be stored even in the most ideal conditions for more than two weeks. Lemon does not need so demanding storage conditions. It can be kept in the refrigerator for about two months.

Lime vs Lenon

Basis of ComparisonLimeLemon
Formal Name It is called Citrus aurantifolia. It is called Citrus 
Size Limes are smaller in size and usually 1-2 inches in diameter. Lemon is usually 2-4 inches in diameter.  
Color The color of lime is bright green with its thin pebbly skin.It is found in pale yellow colored thick skin. 
Appearance Limes appear round in shape.Lemons are oval-shaped. 
FlavorWhile both of them are sour, limes are a bit bitter. Lemons are slightly sweet in flavor, along with being sour. 
Vitamin CThis is the major nutritional difference between lime and lemon that the amount of vitamin C is 29.1mg per 100g in lime.It is 53mg per 100g in lemon. 
Culinary Uses Limes are normally used in savory dishes. Lemons are used in both sweet dishes as well as savory dishes.
Frequency  Lime does not feature frequent uses.Lemon is used quite regularly. 
Ph level Lime juice contains a pH level between 2.00 and 2.35. Lemon juice has pH levels between 2.00 and 2.60. 

Lime benefits and side effects

Limes are very high in vitamin C which is great for boosting your immune system. They also have small amounts of vitamin B6, potassium, and iron. The vitamin C and certain other antioxidants found in limes that have been shown to promote healthy skin, helping to protect against dry skin and age-related.

Limes have also been found to increase iron absorption, may reduce risk factors for heart disease, kidney stones, and some cancers. Not many people report negative side effects when consuming limes, however, while unlikely, it’s not impossible. If you have a known allergy to citric fruits, limes may cause breathing difficulties, hives, and swelling.

Due to the acidity, eating too much lime may cause symptoms of acid reflux, such as include vomiting, nausea, heartburn and sometimes difficulty swallowing. 

Lemon benefits and Side Effects

Lemons, like limes, are very high in vitamin C, as well as fiber, and other beneficial plant compounds that can reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke, as well as help you manage your weight.

Lemons and lemon water are often promoted as a weight-loss food. There are a few theories as to why that is but the most common is because lemons contain the soluble pectin fiber, which helps expand your stomach which will make you feel fuller for longer.

Applications of Lime

  • Fresh drinks like limeade and lemonade
  • Flavoring fish, poultry, and meats
  • Preserving foods
  • Pastries
  • Cocktails
  • Simple flavors for sparkling water

Applications of Lemons

  1. Polish pots and pans
  2. Descale coffee makers
  3. Remove stains from marble countertops
  4. Remove stains from dishes and storage containers
  5. Remove odors from microwaves and refrigerators
  6. Get rid of yellow stains in white fabrics
  7. Natural air freshener
  8. Wards off bugs
  9. Natural glass cleaner