Iranian limes, also known as omani limes, are small and tart. Once harvested, they are boiled in saltwater then sun-dried. Depending on the length of drying, the limes change colour. Black limes, which are exposed to the sun for a longer period, are less bitter than white limes but their citrus fragrance is less rich and complex.
Dry limes have a fragrance resembling fresh lemons and limes, they also share their acid and bitter traits. In Persian cooking, they are used to enhance simmered dishes made from lamb and fresh herbs, with saffron and are even used in abgusht, a meat dish that resembles Pot au feu. These limes are used in many other Gulf countries, particularly in rice dishes like Kabsa, soups and braised dishes. Their acidity greatly compliments fish and seafood. In the Middle East, they are first pierced then incorporated whole into simmered dishes – an equally delicious technique that can be used for tajines. Removing the interior of dried limes makes it easy to reduce their skins to powder. Mixed with salt, garlic and chilies, this lime powder then makes an excellent, dry marinade for chicken.