Sunday, January 1, 2012

Microcitrus australasica: vegetable caviar

The Chefs of kitchen prepare delicatessen with it

Microcitrus australasica is an original wild shrub of Australia, whose small black fruits already were very appreciated by the Australian natives before the colonization of this great island by the British people. When the first convict people of the British Islands went deportees to Australia as punishment, they found these shrubs, they proved its fruits and they liked, so that when clearing the forests to work the seeds brought from England did not take them, they respected but them and they called  "Finger Lime".

Divided fruits of Microcitrus australasica with its pulp in the form of cleared vesicles. I recommend to extend the photos with a double click to appreciate better the details.

Mature fruits of a nice reddish brown color. This one is the variety more widely cultivated. The original wild plant produces much more dark fruits, almost black and more extended. Through culture and the hibridization with other wild citruses has been selected new varieties with fruits of red, green, yellow, pink, black color, some very long and curved like true fingers.

Pulp of the previous fruits. If the vesicles between the teeth are squashed it notices a startling very intense and refreshing acid flavor. The fruits of the cultivated varieties rarely have seeds, reason why they are due to reproduce by graft on other citruses. By own experience I have verified that the grafted Microcitrus australasica on lemon tree gives very good results. 

When starting off the fruits and applying one slight pressure to them with the fingers leave the vesicles that have a great similarity with the eggs of the caviar, for that reason is called vegetable caviar or citric caviar. Like the crust of the fruits, the vesicles also can have different colors, from pink pale like in the image, to red intense, dwelled, yellow, green, white… With this range of colors the Chefs of kitchen prepares delicious appetizers, as oysters decorated with juice of lime, pepper, salt and vesicles of finger lime superficially, that give to them an appetizing aspect and a delicious acid flavor. Mussels done to the steam can be decorated in the same way. 

Also in confectionery and ice-cream shop can be prepared delicatessen with the exotic pulp of these fruits. The jam has a transparent aspect very attractive and in the mouth it is crisp and aromatic. The fruits, when not having seeds, can be candied entire and once candied a chocolate bath can be given them and so delicious chocolates are obtained. Also a fantastic Plum Cake can be prepared replacing the nuts and the usual candied fruits by Finger Lime candied fruits, entire if possible, so that when cutting the pie the cut has a very appetizing aspect. 

Near vision of Finger Lime vesicles. The similarity with the caviar is extraordinary.

A delicious cocktail can be prepared, Mundani Cocktail © Copyright, with the juice of one lime, the juice of two mandarins, a little of vodka, a jam teaspoon of fingerlimes and two crushed ice teaspoons. The cocktail shaker is shaken well and it is let rest minutes. Meanwhile vegetable caviar in a plate with drops of liquor of lime is put and it is mixed well. In another plate palm honey is spilled, if possible molasses of canary palm, is diluted a little with drops of water, the edge goes of the glass through the molasses so that it is sticky and they are dropped the leftover drops with the inverted glass. Soon the edge goes of the glass through the vesicles of fingerlime, which remain beaten. Once adorned the glass a candied fruit is put at heart, if possible red or brown and the mixture of the cocktail shaker is spilled. Delicious, Exotic and Refreshing! Uhmmm...

If they add to the vesicles of several fingerlimes to a fruit salad the result is spectacular. With vesicles of different colors showy salads with a very appetizing aspect can be elaborated.

In my garden I have two Microcitrus australasica grafted on two old lemon trees. When having the very thin and thorny branches it is not possible to obtain escutcheons, reason why the suitable method more is the Graft of Crown under plastic bag. Taking advantage of the long trunk the lemon tree and the main branches is obtained a nice tree with a very dense top of pendular branches loaded of fruits of a very reddish brown color. 

The production of fruits is very abundant, coverall in summer. The tree blooms several times to the year and in autumn and winter also it bears fruits, although in smaller amount. The culture on a large scale of this Australian fruit tree began two decades ago. At the outset their fruits were destined mainly to the jam elaboration, but towards the year 2000 great the Chefs of kitchen discovered their excellent qualities and began to make plates that were a great successful between their clients. At the moment the demand of the fruits of the Finger Lime increases, quote to high prices, reason why it would be an excellent idea and a great business of reconverting old Mediterranean orange and lemon groves grafting them with branches of Microcitrus australasica. Short term benefits could be obtained, because the grafts would enter production the second year.

The flowers of Microcitrus australasica are very small, like the leaves. The branches are protected by fine thorns like needles.

Flower of Finger Lime with three very fleshy petals of white color on the superior side and an intense pink color on the inferior side. A thorn can be seen protecting the flower.

And to finish the article with good flavor of mouth I have prepared  this small "tapa" of anchovies with capers and fingerlimes, everything watered with the same oil of the anchovies. I assure to you that they have been food of Gods. Uhmmm...

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