This is the one tree I’m certain of growing. Recommended in the Byron Shire “My Local Garden” for the hinterlands, it is eminently suited for the local environment. It’s now becoming trendy as a gourmet bushfood.
There is a wide range of colours, from yellow to green, red to purple and black, so the hardest thing is to choose which variety to grow.
Daleys has a huge range at https://www.daleysfruit.com.au/search.php?q=finger+lime. Given the objective of being self-sufficient, the “Judy’s Everbearing” sounds good, being most productive with heavy crops between summer and autumn and a light crop throughout the year. http://smallgreenthings.com.au/finger-limes/ has an excellent description of the champagne pink cultivar.
https://austsuperfoods.com.au/nutrition/finger-lime/ describes it as a rare
rainforest tree, valuable for Aboriginals for thousands of years
as a source of food and medicine. The pulp and juice were used as an antiseptic for infected sores and boils.
They are rich in folate, potassium, Vitamin C and Vitamin E.
They can be eaten raw, tasting like a zesty, lime caviar. They have a citrus lime flavour and can be used as a substitute for lemon and lime in recipes.
They can be used in dressings, jams, cordials and cocktails and as a garnish. The pulp can be frozen for later use.
There is excellent growing information at https://www.sgaonline.org.au/finger-limes/ and http://smallgreenthings.com.au/finger-limes/
They grow to 2-7m height and 1 metre width and can be pruned and espaliered or grown in pots.
It can take 2-3 years to fruit. They are slow growing, so start from a good size.
Plant anytime except mid summer, so that they don’t dry out.
Mulch in spring and keep soil moist in summer.
Watch out for citrus pests.
They are very thorny and thin skinned, so shelter from the wind if possible.
There is a stunning recipe at http://heneedsfood.com/2013/12/garlic-chilli-prawns-with-pepperberry-saltbush-finger-lime/
Photo courtesy of http://smallgreenthings.com.au/finger-limes/
AppearanceType: Tree, Shrub
Leaf Size: Large
FunctionsBush Tucker: Yes
Edible Flower: No
Uses: Fruit, Salad, Citrus, Jam, Decorative, Medicinal, Dressing, Freeze
GrowingClimate Zone: Subtropical, Warm Temperate
Planting Season: Spring, Autumn, Winter
Harvesting Season: Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter
Sun/Shade: Full Sun
Soil: Well Drained
Frost Tolerant: Yes
Time to Maturity: 3-4yrs