Iranian limes are small and very tart. Once harvested, they are boiled in saltwater, then sun-dried. Depending on the duration of the drying period, the limes tend to change colour. White limes are exposed to the sun for a shorter period and as a result, their fragrance is more delicate than black limes.
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, fresh herbs, and 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 rub for chicken.