The Philippines is famous for its tropical climate which is suited for citrus growth. The dry weather complemented by well-distributed rainfall throughout the year favors a number of citrus fruits to thrive well. Citrus fruits such as lime are rich in Vitamin C which is primarily essential in the prevention of scurvy.
Here are some facts about the Philippine lime called dayap for your guidance.
Origin of Dayap
Dayap has a scientific name of Citrus Aurantifolia and belongs to the Rue family (Rutaceae). It is believed to have originated from India, from where it spread to the Mediterranean and then to the West Indies and Mexico. Later on it was brought to the Philippines and named as dayap by the locals.
What does it look like?
Dayap is a small-fruited lime with thin, smooth, and shiny rind. It is circular in shape with 3-6 centimeters in diameter. It has a high acidic content having 7-8% citric acid by weight. The fruit is greenish-yellow when ripe but is usually used in the slightly unripe, which is completely green.
The dayap tree is a small tree about 2-5 meters tall. It has dense, irregular branches and the twigs are armed with short stiff sharp spines which we can call thorns. The leaves are glossy and elliptical to oblong shaped about 2 to 3 inches long. White colored flowers which are highly fragrant bloom from this tree in clusters.
How does it grow?
There are different methods for the propagation of dayap. You can do it by seed planting, stem cutting or air layering. The tree is sensitive to cold. It bears good quality fruits on dry soils provided that it has sufficient water irrigation. Irrigation can be through furrow, hose, or sprinkle.
Uses of Dayap
The fruit, leaves, and rinds of dayap have many uses in the following areas:
The fruit lends a nice sour flavor to our local cuisine such as paksiw. It is a good substitute for tamarind as a souring agent. The sweet tanginess of dayap and the refreshing taste of mint complement each other in creamy and rich dishes.
The juice and zest are often used to cut the sweetness of different pastries such as pies, cakes and the most known dessert in the Philippines which is leche flan.
The dayap juice is refreshingly delicious. The dayap tea, either hot or iced, is commonly served in Filipino vegetarian restaurants. It would even be the complimentary drink in a nature themed spa after a relaxing massage.
The juice and zest can be mixed with rum or vodka to create aromatic cocktail drinks. As a type of garnish, the rind is cut in a long spiral called twist.
c) Alternative medicine
The dayap leaves are heated and compressed into a poultice for headaches and stress relief. Because of its fragrance, it can also be used as a substitute of toothpaste to cleanse the breath.
The extracted oil can be boiled to relieve the symptoms of sore throat, asthma, or bronchitis. Wounds can be cleansed using the juice as it is believed to be antiseptic.
The dayap oil is being used nowadays as active ingredients in perfumes and shampoos. It is also used in the manufacture of soap because of the flavonoids and vitamin C that it contains. These two antioxidants help in the exfoliation and detoxification process to promote new skin growth.