Difference between Lemon and Lime

By: | Updated: Feb-21, 2018

Knowing the difference between a lemon and lime is for chefs and bartenders, right? Wrong! There are a lot of drinks and dishes you could prepare for yourself that use either lemons or limes. Provided that you know the difference between the two, of course! Just to make sure, keep reading this article.

Summary Table

Ellipsoidal, yellow, medium-sized fruitRound, green, small fruit
Tart flavorSweet/sour/bitter flavor
Has 64% of the recommended daily value of Vitamin C per 100g servingHas 35% of the recommended daily value of Vitamin C per 100g serving
Has a higher pH of 2.00-2.60Has a lower pH of 2.00-2.35


One whole lemon and one lemon cut in half

A lemon is a fruit easily recognized by its distinctive sour taste. Originally from Asia, the lemon grows on a small evergreen tree. The fruit in itself is ellipsoidal, bright yellow when ripe and green before that. It is part of the Citrus genus, meaning that it is rich in citric acid. The pulp of the lemon has around 5-6 percent citric acid.

Lemons are mainly used in cooking and baking, as well as in preparing a lot of beverages – warm or cold, with or without alcohol. Rich in Vitamin C (64 percent of the recommended daily value in a 100g serving), lemons have a lot of medicinal uses. The citric acid generally helps digestion, while the ascorbic acid also found in lemons helps fight scurvy.

A lime and half a lime

A lime is a hybrid citrus fruit with a 1.2- to 2.4-inch diameter, green color and round shape. It is an excellent source of Vitamin C, providing 35 percent of the recommended daily value per 100g serving. It can be used in preparing dishes and beverages. For many Oriental dishes, like Indian and Persian or Iraqi dishes, limes are a must.

Lemon vs Lime

So what is the difference between a lemon and lime?

First, there is the matter of appearance between the two. The lemon is ellipsoidal, big and yellow. The lime is round, green and small. They are both rich in Vitamin C, but lemons have more of it. Limes are more acidic than lemons; their juice has a pH of 2.00-2.35, compared to the 2.00-2.6 pH of the lemon. This makes both fruits great for seasoning meat. Lemons have a slightly higher sugar content, but they have a tart flavor. Limes, on the other hand, offer a mix of sweet, sour and bitter taste.

Differences in taste mean that lemons are good for some recipes, while limes are good for others. The lemon’s tart taste makes it great with desserts, while limes pair better with various types of rice and pasta. Adding lemons or limes to a cocktail will usually result in different tasting beverages. There is a difference in taste between lemonade and limeade, for example.

As far as the medicinal benefits go, both of them serve the same purpose of protecting the body from diseases such as scurvy and providing it with the antioxidants it needs to fight off various forms of cancer.

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