Nearly every back yard here in Las Tablas has a limon tree. Yet you can still buy limons in the fruterias (fruit stands) on the street, and in the grocery stores. In the States we call this fruit a key lime. It is an extremely popular item in the tropics, especially in Panama. And it is used in so many different ways.
- The most obvious use: Eat it. Squeeze limon over fish. Mix it with chopped onions, tomatoes and peppers and salt to make salsa.
- Remove smells from your hands. Rub a cut limon on your fingers to rid them of the smell of fish, of onions, of garlic, of whatever.
- Remove smells from your person. Mix it with bicarbonate of soda and use it for deodorant. I learned this in Mexico under emergency conditions. Now I know why the locals never stink, but the foreigners do. I’ve never used such an effective deodorant. (Or such an inconvenient one.)
- Bleach your teeth. Mix it with bicarbonate of soda and spread over the choppers. Let sit a few minutes. Repeat at will.
- Remove bone spurs. What!? Yes. Cut a limon in half or quarters, heat it and rub it on your heel to remove bone spurs (takes about 2 weeks). One of my expat friends tried the alternative method of squeezing the juice into hot water, then fastening the fruit to her heel and soaking it in the hot limon water for about half an hour. Again, it takes about two weeks.
- Anti-Itch. Cut one in half and rub it on chigger bites to alleviate the itching. It leaves you a bit sticky and requires re-application in a few hours, but it does work.
- Improve the taste of water. Squeeze in a bit of limon.
- Lighten your hair. Squeeze some limon juice on the lock you want to blond and sit in the sun while it dries.
- Cure a a sore throat. Cut a limon in half and tie it onto your throat with a scarf. Drink the juice, too. Lots of Vitamin C. (I don’t actually know anyone who has been successful with this, but I had a Panamanian neighbor in Las Tablas Abajo who used the method. He didn’t share his results.)
- Make Limonada Very tasty, especially when made in the blender with turbinado sugar and lots of ice.
Now a lemon and a limon are not the same thing. You knew that, right? Especially since I mentioned it in the first paragraph. A limon is a lime, and a lemon is a lima. Since those of us who are not yet living in Central America might only have ready access to lemons, here is a link with forty-five uses for a lemon. They might be interchangeable, I don’t know.
Why don’t you try a few and leave me a comment?