We often equate a “lime” with the color green, but there is a difference between regular limes and key limes. The difference between these two limes doesn’t just end with color, either.
Key limes (Citrus aurantifolia) are actually citrus fruits that are smaller than limes (Citrus latifolia) and have more seeds. They have a thinner skin than limes and turn yellow as they ripen.
But what they lack in size they make up for in flavor and health benefits.
Key limes are often preferred over regular limes, or Persian limes as they are sometimes called, because they have a more pleasant, tart flavor and distinctive aroma.
The color of the juice is different between these lime species varies across the board depending on several factors such as their age, species, and the way they are prepared.
In this article, you will learn more about the color of key lime juice, and color difference between freshly-squeezed vs store-bought juice, such as Nellie’s key lime juice. You will also learn about browning and whether this is something to be concerned about.
What Color is Key Lime Juice?
The color of key lime juice is yellow to yellow with a slight green tint.
Key lime juice is famous for its wonderfully aromatic scent and pleasantly sharp-tasting flavor. Chefs tend to prefer cooking with key limes over regular limes because of the robust flavor it adds to dishes.
The bolder flavor of key lime juice (vs regular or persian lime species) also has a somewhat herbal-floral aroma and packs more of an acidic punch. Many people are not aware that key lime juice has a yellow tint and are surprised that the juice is not green.
Some dishes, such as key lime pie, may appear green, but the only reason they are green and not yellow (the actual color of key lime juice) is because of added green food coloring.
Color of Key lime
The key lime itself starts off dark green but turns yellow as it ripens. Key limes are also unique in that they have a more spherical shape, while common limes are oblong-shaped. So many other properties of key limes differentiate them from limes.
These unique properties such as a much thinner skin, makes key limes go bad faster than regular limes. The skin of a regular lime is brighter green and very thick.
The juice of a common lime has more of a green tint.
Color of fresh (homemade) key lime juice
Fresh, homemade key lime juice is a yellow to yellow-green color, with yellow being the prominent tint.
It is thought to be the most flavorful and has more of a robust flavor compared to store-bought key lime juice. This is likely due to the fact that it is the freshest juice you can work with.
While freshly squeezed key lime juice is revered for its flavor and aroma, it doesn’t have a long shelf life compared to store bought key lime juice. It needs to be properly stored after squeezing for maximum freshness and flavor.
Color of store-bought key lime juice
Most store-bought key lime juice has a distinct yellow to yellow-green color. It may be cloudier than freshly squeezed key lime juice due to added preservatives and sitting longer on the shelf.
Pay attention when buying store-bought key lime juice, as some is “from concentrate”. Although, some store-bought key lime juice do not have added preservatives and these companies will advertise this on the bottle.
Make sure to properly preserve store-bought key lime juice after opening and use it by the expiration date on the bottle.
- What is the Difference Between a Key Lime and a Lime?
- How to Juice a Key Lime in 3 Easy Steps
- Homemade Vs Premade Key Lime Juice Health Benefits
- How Long does Key Lime Juice Last? 7 Tips for Longer Shelf-life
- 12 Tips on Storing Freshly Squeezed (Homemade) Key lime juice
- How to Store Opened Key lime Juice to Last Longer [13 Tips!]
What Color is Nellie’s Key lime juice?
Nellie and Joe’s Famous Key Lime Juice is a popular brand of store-bought key lime juice. It is a rich yellow color and sometimes has a slight brown tint.
This brand of juice comes in a variety of sizes to fit any need. Once it is opened, it needs to be properly stored to extend its shelf life.
This brand of juice is famous among chefs for use in making key lime pie “the right way” as opposed to using regular limes like some people do when making this pie.
Can Key Lime Juice turn Brown?
It is normal and nothing to worry about if fresh homemade key lime juice turns brown. Browning is a common occurrence with many types of citrus juices.
One way to prevent this is to keep your key lime juice properly made and stored, as this has been shown to dramatically slow down the darkening process. Browning does not affect the flavor or the quality of key lime juice, or any other citrus juice for that matter.
Color of Key lime juice Vs Lime Juice
Key lime juice has a distinct and prominent yellow tint compared to lime juice, which is prominently green.
Key lime juice also has a bolder flavor than lime juice. The aroma of key lime juice is also more floral, herbaceous, and citrusy than common lime juice.
Color of Key lime juice Vs Lemon juice
Key lime juice and lemon juice look a lot alike in terms of color. Both have a predominantly yellow tint.
One clear way to tell the difference is by smelling and tasting the juices. Key lime juice will have a robust floral and citrusy flavor and aroma while lemon juice will have the classic lemony flavor and aroma.
The bottom line is that true key lime juice, whether freshly squeezed or store-bought, is chiefly yellow in color. Key limes are both different in color and flavor compared to common limes.
In addition, key limes themselves are a smaller, more spherical-shaped citrus fruit compared to the oblong appearance of other limes. The skin of key limes is thinner and key limes also contain more seeds.
They are quite a bit smaller than common limes as well, with most being half the size of a common lime.