Summer begins tomorrow! (Officially, anyway...I've been a summer state of mind for several weeks now.) And key lime pie is a ubiquitous summer-time dessert, but what if you can't find key limes? Can you substitute regular limes?
The answer: you can, but the pie will taste slightly different because regular Persian limes are less tart and floral tasting than their key lime counterparts.
Make the substitution: use the same amount of juice or zest, but make sure you measure by volume and not by lime count. (Key limes are much smaller than regular limes, so they have less peel and yield less juice.)
You can also try mixing a bit of fresh tangerine or orange juice with regular lime juice to re-create the complex flavor Key limes.
Best time to buy Key limes? The Florida crop of Key limes is at its peak during the summer months, so opt for the fresh fruit in late June, July, and August. Many stores also now carry bottled key lime juice as another option year round.