Dave and I love Thai curry. We tried making it at home several times but it always seemed to be missing a certain something. Finally one day the chef at our favorite restaurant told us that she adds Kaffir lime leaves to give it that flavor that we desired. I’m glad she did because the restaurant was bought out a year later and became an Indian/Thai place. The food was never the same.
We tried looking for the leaves at the local Asian markets without success. Then for my birthday six years ago, Dave bought me a Kaffir lime tree.
This year my husband said it was getting too big and it was time to plant the tree permanently. My birthday tree. The one that I have been tending to for years. The one that I brought inside every winter. Plant it in the backyard of a house that we ultimately plan to sell. And I will have to leave my birthday tree behind. Maybe I’m overly sentimental but it took me months to finally concede to the idea. To comfort me, Dave said he would buy me two Kaffir lime trees when we have to leave this one behind and even suggested trying to propagate some cuttings from this one. I guess I have a few years to try to grow some legacy trees. In the meantime, here he is. Yes I arbitrarily assigned a male gender. It just feels right.
A little pruning and bricks around the base to protect him from the lawn men and he was all settled into his new home. Plus he has a new peppermint buddy to keep him company.
Some things to keep in mind about Kaffir lime trees:
- Trees can often be found at your local nursery. You can also buy from sources online.
- Kaffir lime trees can be grown outdoors all year round in USDA zones 9 and 10. They grow well indoors in containers in other zones.
- Plant in well drained soil in full sun. Root rot can be an issue if the soil stays too moist.
- Trees can reach 10 feet in height but you can control the size with pruning.
- The leaves are edible. The fruit not so much. The rind is used in curry paste and the juice is typically used in cleaning products.
- Be mindful of the thorns when handling.