Citrus fruits really are a family, and not just in the taxonomic sense. There is the sharp-tongued, lively bachelorette aunt, the lemon. There is the sensible, hard-working and slightly dull breadwinner - the navel orange. There's the mom who's always on weightwatchers, Ruby - she's a grapefruit. And there is the relative who only shows up at Christmas time - the mandarin orange. Each has its own personality and utility, just like in human families.
In the next few posts on Flavors of Brazil, we'll look at Brazil's just one part of the citrus fruit family, the one that happens to be the most common in Brazilian cooking and gastronomy. Brazilians call them limão, in English they're limes. We'll discuss which ones are common, which are found only regionally in Brazil, and which ones are just now making their way into the market. The market for citrus is changing rapidly in this country- in our newly globalized world, some citrus fruits that were unknown in Brazil as recently as three or four years ago are popping up with increasing regularity in fruit markets and supermarkets all over Brazil. We'll highlight the standard varieties of Brazilian limes and discuss the new entries - with recipes for all, new and old.