The kaffir or makrut lime tree is grown mainly for its unusual-looking double-pointed strongly scented leaves. The trees bear fragrant warty-looking fruit which can be zested like regular limes, although they don’t contain much juice. Excess lime leaves can be frozen in a sealed plastic bag but thereafter they’re only good for cooking as they tend to discolour and go limp once thawed. Fresh leaves can be stored in a sealed plastic bag in the refrigerator for 2–3 weeks.
The fresh leaves smell somewhat sweeter than lime zest – sharp, citrusy and clean. With the centre ribs removed, they can be rolled and sliced exceedingly thinly for adding to uncooked dishes, or turned into a dust in a small spice grinder. Whole leaves can be added to curries, stuffed inside fish or floated in soups. If fresh leaves aren’t available, use lime or lemon zest instead.
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