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All about “Combava / Kaffir lime”

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The combava is a citrus fruit that is little known in France. It is native to Indonesia and is consumed a lot in the countries of the Indian Ocean and in Asia. It is found in some Asian grocery stores. Its bumpy skin and its flavor, both acidic and close to lemongrass, differentiates it from other citrus fruits.

Characteristics of the combava:

  • Source of vitamin C;
  • Low in calories;
  • Boosts the immune system;
  • Anti-inflammatory;
  • Antioxidant.

What is combava?

Combava identity card

  • Type: Citrus;
  • Family: Rutaceae;
  • Origin: Indonesia;
  • Season: October to November;
  • Green color ;
  • Flavor: Acid.

Characteristics of the combava

The combava measures 5 to 6 cm in diameter. The bark has a grainy or even puffy texture, and its color can range from very intense green to yellow for the most ripe fruits. It grows on a small tree whose maximum size is 2.5 m.

Differences with nearby foods

Originally from Mauritius, it is sometimes confused with bergamot which has the same puffy appearance when their flavors are totally unlike.

Word from the nutritionist

To take advantage of the benefits of combava, do not hesitate to add its zest in all your dishes: vinaigrette, fish, fruit juice …


Nutritional values

For 100g of combava:

Nutrients                                                                Quantities                                                            
Protein 1 g
Fat 0.5 g
Carbohydrates 6.6g
Water 90.8 g
Fibers 0 g
Vitamin C 43 mg
Beta carotene 20.5 µg
Calcium 23 mg
Potassium 152 mg
Iron 0.6 mg
Magnesium 11.5 mg

7 benefits of combava: why eat it?

  1. Like its cousin the lemon, the combava has anti-inflammatory properties thanks to its content of vitamin C. this vitamin will allow you to fight against the small evils of winter and is a very good antioxidant for the organism.
  2. With only 22 kcal per 100g of combava, it is a citrus fruit with low energy content which will allow you to enhance your meals by very moderately increasing your caloric intake. It can therefore be consumed as part of a slimming diet without any problems.
  3. Combava essential oil is one of the most powerful natural antivirals known because of its citronellal composition. It is a powerful molecule with a very broad spectrum of action which fights against bacteria, viruses, but also fungi.
  4. The essential oil of combava contains terpene aldehydes and esters which relieve rheumatic and muscular pains by their anti-inflammatory action.
  5. Thanks to its richness in monoterpenes, the essential oil of combava is a tonic and general stimulant of the organism. This property is explained by the stimulation of the adrenal cortex.
  6. Citronellal and Lemonellyl acetate are relaxing molecules, found in combava essential oil, capable of acting on the nervous system by disrupting the transmission of nervous messages. This results in soothing and reduced stress.
  7. By massaging the affected areas, combava oil opposes cellulite thanks to its circulatory toning properties.

Choose your combava well

To ensure that you have maximum flavor, choose the green combava that will add flavor to your dishes. You must choose it very firm and shiny.
We can also find powdered combava, be careful however to use it sparingly because its flavor is very pronounced.


Keep well

The combava can be stored at room temperature in the fruit basket but also for a fortnight in the vegetable drawer of your refrigerator. You can also freeze the zest for easier use in your preparations.

Combava preparation

How to cook it? How to match it?

Its zest, leaves and juice are mainly used in refreshing drinks. The combava leaves are also used as an infusion in Asian cuisine.

The combava is used to decorate curries, rougail sauces (as in the recipe for rougail sausage) and spicy sauces of typical Creole dishes, from Reunion Island and Madagascar. In the same way as lemon, it goes very easily with fish or seafood dishes.

As with other citrus fruits, if you want to use its zest, avoid grating it too deeply: the zyst (the white skin) will give a lot of bitterness.

History of food

The combava is native to Indonesia. It was then introduced to Mauritius and Reunion at the end of the 18th century. We discover it in the West only from the middle of the 20th century.

We consume the fruit but its essential oil is also widely used for its medicinal properties.

For further

The combava can grow in France in the Mediterranean regions. It is a plant that requires good sun exposure and lots of watering. It can also grow in a greenhouse.



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