Edithe Greene

Edithe Greene

Published: 25 Jul 2023

Source: Tastingtable.com

Black limes, also known as dried limes or loomi, are a fascinating ingredient that has been used in various Middle Eastern cuisines for centuries. These small, wrinkled limes are distinct in both flavor and appearance, offering a unique tangy and slightly smoky taste to dishes.

Black limes are created by boiling fresh limes in saltwater and then drying them in the sun until they turn dark and shriveled. This preservation process intensifies the citrus flavor while adding a hint of earthiness to the fruit.

In this article, we will dive into 19 interesting facts about black limes, exploring their origins, culinary uses, health benefits, and more. So, if you’re ready to learn all about this intriguing ingredient, grab a cup of tea, sit back, and let’s discover the wonders of black limes!

Table of Contents

Black limes are not a different variety of lime.

Despite their name, black limes are not a distinct type of lime, but rather limes that have undergone a unique drying process.

The drying process gives black limes their characteristic dark color.

Black limes are made by boiling fresh limes in saltwater and then drying them in the sun or an oven until they turn dark and become dehydrated.

Black limes are commonly used in Middle Eastern cuisine.

Black limes are a staple in Middle Eastern cooking, particularly in Persian and Iraqi dishes. They add a tangy and slightly sour flavor to various dishes.

Black limes are also known as dried limes or loomi.

Black limes are referred to by different names in various regions. They are often called dried limes or loomi in Arabic.

They have a unique taste.

The drying process gives black limes a distinct flavor profile. They have a strong, tangy taste with hints of citrus and a slightly smoky undertone.

Black limes are used in both savory and sweet dishes.

While commonly used in savory recipes, such as stews and soups, black limes can also be found in desserts and beverages to add a touch of acidity.

Black limes are a rich source of vitamin C.

Just like fresh limes, black limes pack a punch of vitamin C, providing an immune system boost and aiding in collagen production.

Due to their intense flavor, black limes should be used sparingly.

A little goes a long way with black limes. Their potent taste means that a small amount can greatly enhance the flavor of a dish.

Black limes can be rehydrated before use.

To soften black limes and bring out their flavor, they can be soaked in water for a period of time before incorporating them into a recipe.

Black limes are often used in traditional Iranian stews.

In Iranian cuisine, black limes are frequently used in khoresh dishes, which are slow-cooked stews made with herbs, meats, and vegetables.

Black limes can add depth to marinades and dressings.

When crushed or ground, black limes can be used to create flavorful marinades and dressings for a variety of dishes.

Black limes can be stored for long periods of time.

Thanks to their dehydrated nature, black limes have a long shelf life and can be stored in a cool, dry place for several months.

Black limes are a versatile ingredient.

From rice dishes and meat preparations to soups and salads, black limes can be used in a wide range of recipes to add a unique and tangy flavor.

Black limes are believed to have health benefits.

In traditional medicine, black limes are believed to aid digestion and have antibacterial properties.

Black limes are often used in spice blends.

Ground black limes are commonly included in Middle Eastern spice blends like baharat and ras el hanout.

While black limes are mainly used in savory dishes, they can also be used in cocktails.

Black lime-infused simple syrups or muddled black limes can add a unique twist to your favorite cocktails.

Black limes are a traditional ingredient in Gulf cuisine.

Gulf countries like Kuwait, Bahrain, and Qatar use black limes in various dishes, adding a distinct flavor to their traditional cuisine.

Black limes are gaining popularity in Western cuisine.

With the growing interest in global flavors, black limes are finding their way into Western kitchens, adding a touch of exoticism to dishes.

The preparation method for black limes varies across different households.

While the basic process of drying limes is the same, different regions and families may have their own unique methods and variations when it comes to preparing black limes.


Black limes are a fascinating ingredient that add a unique and tangy flavor to a variety of dishes. Whether you use them to flavor soups, stews, marinades, or even desserts, black limes can elevate your culinary creations to new heights. From their origins in Middle Eastern cuisine to their growing popularity in the Western world, black limes are a must-try ingredient for any food enthusiast.

So, the next time you come across black limes at your local market or grocery store, don’t hesitate to grab a few and experiment with them in your recipes. Their intense flavor profile and versatile nature make them a fantastic ingredient to have in your kitchen. So go ahead, explore the wonders of black limes and bring a burst of unique and enticing flavors to your next meal!


Q: What are black limes?

A: Black limes, also known as dried limes or loomi, are limes that have been boiled in salt water and left to dry until they turn black. This process transforms their flavor, creating a tangy and slightly smoky taste.

Q: How are black limes used in cooking?

A: Black limes are commonly used in Middle Eastern and Persian cuisine. They are added whole or ground to soups, stews, rice dishes, and marinades to impart a unique flavor. They can also be used as a seasoning for roasted meats or sprinkled over salads for an extra tangy kick.

Q: Where can I find black limes?

A: Black limes can be found at specialty food stores, Middle Eastern markets, or online. Some larger grocery stores may also carry them in the international section or the spice aisle.

Q: Can I substitute black limes with fresh limes?

A: While fresh limes can provide a similar citrus flavor, they won’t have the distinctive taste and aroma of black limes. If you can’t find black limes, you can try using lime zest or juice as a substitute, although the flavor will be different.

Q: How long do black limes last?

A: Black limes have a long shelf life and can be stored in a cool, dry place for up to a year. However, it’s best to use them within a few months for the most intense flavor.