Can You Really Taste the Difference Between Lemons and Limes? A Slate Investigation.

Slate's Culture Blog
April 9 2014 12:17 PM

Can You Really Taste the Difference Between Lemons and Limes? A Slate Investigation.

shutterstock_144177199

Americans have been hit with a shortage of one of the things we treasure most—garnishes for our gin and tonics. As the dearth of limes in U.S. grocery stores continues, discontent in the streets rises. When my colleague L.V. Anderson suggested that lemons were an obvious substitute for limes during the shortage, readers revolted. “Blasphemy!” cried one. “Um, no. Not the same. At all,” declared another. According to conventional wisdom (and to flavored seltzer manufacturers), lemons and limes possess two very different flavors that are easy to tell apart.

But is that really true? We here at the Slate New York office decided to take the test. If you sub lemons for limes, will that pho you ordered for lunch just not taste right?  Or have we been simply fooling ourselves all these years into thinking they’re more different than they actually are?  To find out, we did our duty as journalists: We blindfolded our staff and videotaped them trying to distinguish between wedges of the two different fruits. (To make it a fair test, we trimmed all the wedges to the same size.)

Advertisement

How many of us got it right? Watch and find out:

Ayana Morali is the co-executive producer of Slate V.

TODAY IN SLATE

Doublex

Crying Rape

False rape accusations exist, and they are a serious problem.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Why Men Can Never Remember Anything

The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 1:11 PM Why Men Can Never Remember Anything

The Music Industry Is Ignoring Some of the Best Black Women Singing R&B

How Will You Carry Around Your Huge New iPhone? Apple Pants!

Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

Television

The Other Huxtable Effect

Thirty years ago, The Cosby Show gave us one of TV’s great feminists.

There’s a Way to Keep Ex-Cons Out of Prison That Pays for Itself. Why Don’t More States Use It?

No, New York Times, Shonda Rhimes Is Not an “Angry Black Woman” 

Brow Beat
Sept. 19 2014 1:39 PM Shonda Rhimes Is Not an “Angry Black Woman,” New York Times. Neither Are Her Characters.
Behold
Sept. 19 2014 11:33 AM An Up-Close Look at the U.S.–Mexico Border
  News & Politics
Foreigners
Sept. 19 2014 1:56 PM Scotland’s Attack on the Status Quo Expect more political earthquakes across Europe.
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 19 2014 12:09 PM How Accelerators Have Changed Startup Funding
  Life
Inside Higher Ed
Sept. 19 2014 1:34 PM Empty Seats, Fewer Donors? College football isn’t attracting the audience it used to.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 1:11 PM Why Men Never Remember Anything
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 19 2014 2:44 PM Where Do I Start With Mystery Science Theater 3000?
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 12:38 PM Forward, March! Nine leading climate scientists urge you to attend the People’s Climate March.
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 19 2014 12:13 PM The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola  The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.