The Sweet lemon is medium-sized with an overall rounded shape and a slightly flattened bottom. Its relatively smooth skin is yellow with a pale green tint, developing an orange hue when fully ripe. The thin rind is rich with aromatic oils, and the juicy flesh has minimal seeds and is nearly acid-less. The flavor is extremely mild, with sweet floral notes of lemongrass.
The Sweet lemon is botanically classified as Citrus limetta, and may be commonly referred to as sweet lime, sweet limetta, Persian lime and Mediterranean sweet lemon. In India it is called Mosambi where it is prized for its many health and beauty benefits. Confusingly, it looks like a lemon, yet tastes like a sweet acid-less lime, hence the numerous aliases. Two common varieties grown in California are the Millsweet limetta and the Ponderosa sweet lemon.
Sweet lemons are an excellent source of vitamin C and are beneficial for treating the common cold, sore throats and dehydration. Some homeopathic advocates use Sweet lemons to relieve gastrointestinal problems, boosts liver function and as a natural antiseptic.
Use Sweet lemons to add a sweet, floral citrus note and a gentle acidity to sweet and savory dishes. Beware of using them interchangeably for traditional lemons, however, because they do not offer the same cutting acidity or intense flavor. The Sweet lemon’s low acid level and rich sugar content allow them to be eaten raw and freshly sliced just like an orange. In India the juice is often sweetened with a touch of honey and spiked with cumin, black salt or chaat masala, an Indian spice mix. The juice also makes an excellent sorbet, custard, vinaigrette or marinade. The aromatic peels of the Sweet lemon may also be captured by steeping them in a simple syrup for cocktails or infusing them into plain sugar for confectionaries. Sweet lemons compliment seafood, lamb, poultry, couscous, grapefruit, orange, lemon, berries, honey, vanilla, cinnamon and clove.