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Aogiri (blue cut) Shikwasa is available during the summer in Japan. Shikwasa limes used for juice are harvested starting in November. Fully-ripened yellow Shikwasa is available in the middle of winter.
Shikwasa limes are in the Rutaceae family.
The average diameter of a Shikwasa lime is about 1.2 inches (3cm) and weighs from 0.88oz (25g) to 2.1oz (60g). The skin is thin and with many seeds inside. Few Shikwasa limes are seedless. The taste of aogiri (blue cut) Shikwasa lime is sour with a fresh citrus scent. Young Shikwasa juice is very sour and used like lemon or lime for garnish, vinegars or seasoning. Fully-ripened yellow Shikwasa limes (kugani) have a much less sour bite and are almost sweet in taste.
Shikwasa limes are nutritious and low in calories with only 48kcal/100mL serving size. Rich in vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin C, Vitamin B1, and Vitamin E Alpha Tocopherol, Shikwasa lime juice can activate metabolism and help to recover from fatigue. Shikwasa limes contain a compound called nobiletin. Nobiletin is a citrus flavonoid that can help prevent lifestyle-related diseases, such as diabetes and high blood pressure and atherosclerosis. A Shikwasa lime has 10 times more nobiletin than an average orange.
Choose Shikwasa limes that have firm and glossy skin. Fresh Shikwasa limes can be stored in a cool and dry place for 2 weeks, longer if the calyx is still attached. Put Shikwasa in a bag to avoid getting dry rot; store them in a refrigerator during warm summer months. Dilute Shikwasa five to eight times with water and drink with sugar and honey as you like.
There is usually a tree of Shikwasa limes in the garden of most older homes in Okinawa. People in Okinawa make juice from them. Shikwasa juice is often squeezed into strong alcohol drinks called Awamori, and eaten with sashimi. Shi means acid and kwasa means to eat in Okinawan language, so Shikwasa means eating vinegar. In addition, the name came after washing Okinawan fabric, bashoufuseu with some juice of Shikwasa limes as fabric softener.
There are over 100 different types of Shikwasa produced mainly in the Okinawa prefecture, Kagoshima prefecture and Wakayama prefecture of Japan. In the northern region of Okinawa there lives an ancient sub-tropical forest called Yanbaru. Yanbaru has the highest production of Shikwasa limes in Japan. Fully-ripened yellow Shikwasa limes called kugani can be eaten raw. Okinawans have consumed Shikwasa throughout history. Shikwasa limes were low in price and an important source of income right after the World War II. In 2000, the price and demand for Shikwasa rose after their nutritional value became known after being featured in a Japanese television program.