With the amount and varieties of limes that we see, it is hard to determine which ones are key limes, as other varieties look, feel and appear the same.
Varieties such as Calamansi and Persian limes are very similar to key limes, making it crucial to understand their difference and the benefits they provide.
In today’s article, we will be taking a look at the differences and similarities between Key limes and Calamansi, to provide a simple guide that will help you to easily distinguish between the two, and choose the variety that is better suited to your individual or holistic needs.
Where does Calamansi come from?
Calamansi is harvested in the Philippines and is incorporated into many of their meals and cocktails, and is so widely used by Filipinos that it is widely referred to as the Philippine lime.
Like most other citrus fruits, Calamansi boasts a very sour and tart taste and is often used to add acidity to recipes that require it.
Calamansi fruits are often mistaken for key limes as they boast the same small size and green outer color, but once cut, Calamansi fruits display a bright orange hue and produce a sweeter, but more acidic juice than key limes.
Calamansi, scientifically known as citroforunella microcarpa is a lime-like citrus fruit that is native to Southeast Asia and its environs.
Related: What Do Key Limes Taste Like?
Can you use Calamansi in place of key limes?
While Calamansi fruits and key limes look so similar that they can be mistaken for each other, they are significantly different in a variety of ways.
Calamansi is not a great substitute specifically for key limes, as they are significantly different when you consider specific factors such as taste, flavor, aroma, and nutritional benefits.
It is best to use a ½ lime and ½ lemon mixture to give you the closest and most similar taste and flavor to key limes, especially in recipes.
When it comes to the nutritional benefits presented by key limes, Calamansi offers health benefits that are also widely beneficial to the body, but these are significantly different from those offered by key limes.
Related: How Long Do Key Limes Last?
Calamansi vs Key Limes Differences
To help you understand the major differences between the Calamansi fruit and Key limes, we’ve created this table with some of the factors that can help you easily discern between the two.
Here are 10 of the major differences between the Calamansi fruit and Key limes.
|Factors to Consider||Calamansi fruit||Key Limes|
|Appearance||Rounded, bright green outer rind which ripens to a yellow-orange to orange color||Spherical, also has a bright green outer color which ripens to a yellow-green to yellow hue|
|Size||Usually, 25–35 mm or 0.98–1.38 inches in diameter, sometimes becoming up to 45 mm or 1.8 inches||Usually 25–50 mm or 1–2 inches in diameter|
|When cut||Bright Orange flesh and orange juice when squeezed||Green inner flesh, and translucent, yellow-green juice when squeezed|
|Origin||Native to Southeast Asia, specifically the Philippines, Indonesia, and China||Native to the Florida Keys, Mexico, South & Central America, and the West Indies|
|Taste||Sour and acidic juice, which is also slightly sweet||Tart and flavorful, slightly less sweet but more potent in flavor|
|pH Balance||Highly Acidic, but alkalizing to the body when the minerals are mixed with blood in the bloodstream||Alkaline at peak maturity|
|Used for||Cocktails, to enhance flavor in seafood, beauty practices such as acne removal||Maintaining an alkaline state in the body, aids digestion, improves weight loss, and a variety of recipes|
|Accessibility||Difficult to source unless you have an Asian farmer’s market close by||Difficult to source and is limited when obtained.|
Key limes vs Calamansi: which is healthier?
Both Calamansi and key limes have different health benefits that can improve your life. The one you choose will directly depend on the type of health benefits you’re aiming to get.
Key limes are healthier than Calamansis, specifically because of their alkalinity and proven health benefits including improving your immune system and helping your organs to function optimally with consistent consumption or use.
This makes key limes perfect for almost all diets and helps your body to maintain a state of alkalinity to help ward off diseases.
Taking Calamansi is also a great natural way to lower your cholesterol and boost your energy levels, not to mention it has been a great herbal remedy for specific skin conditions for decades.
Still, the alkalinity and health benefits of key lime make it a superior choice to the Calamansi fruit, especially as it concerns maintaining an optimal state of wellness in the body.
Can you substitute Calamansi for lime?
Persian limes (or regular limes) are very accessible, so people tend to gravitate to them over their beneficial counterparts.
Calamansi is a great substitute for regular limes, as it is similar in pH, health benefits, and flavor, but the taste will be significantly different. While the juice of the Calamansi fruit is not as potent as that of the key lime, it is more potent than regular limes.
The Calamansi fruit is also smaller, more compact, and provides less juice than the average lime, so using it as a substitute may prove difficult when being used for specific recipes.
It is also distinctly different in taste, as it is sourer, but also sweeter, and the color will be orange instead of that translucent yellow-green that limes provide. Not to mention, Calamansi is pretty hard to source.
Because they are native to the Philippines and Southeast Asian countries, they can be pretty difficult to access in other parts of the world.
The Calamansi fruit has a host of health benefits and is similar in size, shape, and color to the key lime, but they are significantly different in several ways.
If Calamansi is readily available to you, then incorporating it into your diet is a good way to increase the health benefits you get from food, but not in place of key limes.
If you can’t get your hands on the Calamansi fruit though, then using just key limes is still a great way to maintain your health and get maximum health benefits from your diet.