The sunshine and plentiful rain make Food in Florida an explosion of flavor and color.
Tourism and related services are the largest indsutries in Florida, but agriculture and fishing are also important. Florida grows are citrus fruits and sugarcane, not surprising because of its warm climate, with plentiful rain, and a more than fair amount of sunlight. Although Florida also grows them, it is California the place to grow the most lemons, but Florida grows the most limes, and there are, of course, oranges and grapefruit. Florida Key limes are a type of lime unique to Florida. These limes grow in the Florida Keys, a string of small islands in the southern tip of Florida, and it is believed Columbus brought the first seeds. The Key lime is small and yellow on the outside. Unfortunately, a hurricane wiped out most of the Key lime groves in Florida and most of the harvest comes from abroad.
Sugar cane is also grown in Florida. The sugar plantations date from th Spanish conquistadores era.
Oranges were the first citrus fruits to arrive around Saint Agustine, the oldest European settlement that has been inhabited since it was created until current times. Lemons and grapefruits came later. Weather conditions allow for a wide variety of fruits and vegetables on its land. Mangoes, papayas, coconut, or avocado are also on offer, often from roadside stands.
Commercial fishing brings in plenty of seafood, which is in season most of the year. Great fish and seafood to enjoy include broiled stone crabs, turtle soup, baked kingfish, conch fritters, shrimp, and large fish such as marlin, tarpon, and dolphin. There is also catfish and bass from the inland lakes.
There are some unusual foods to enjoy, such as frog legs, or alligator meat, which come be cooked in any way imaginable, from alligator sausages to alligator chow mein. But Florida food and cooking is very much influenced by the immigrants that have settled there, from South America, Jamaica, Cuba or the Northeast, so jerk chicken, roast pork, and fried plantains are as common as the traditional southern fare as turnip greens, sweet potatoes, and grits.
…and food events
Florida Citrus Festival, Winter Haven, February
Recipes from Florida
The Sunshine State
Stane animals: Manati, Porpoise
State bird: Mockingbird
State tree: Sabal palm
State Flower: Orange blossom
The north of Florida is where you will find traditional south fare such as fried chicken, buttermilk biscuits, black eyed peas, and catfish, together with burger, pizza, and hot dogs, and plenty of mall fare. Florida being Florida, even in the north gator meat may make it to the dinner table.
Fresh hearts of palm are easily found in Florida. The palm hearts are taken from Sabal palmettos, palm trees that grow wild in Florida. Hearts of palm, also known as swamp cabbages, are used in salads, or they can be boiled.
A colorful experience
Miami, with great Cuban food and more great food to enjoy in its Caribbean Marketplace in Little Haiti. Just about everything is available in Miami. Try café Cubano and don´t forget the kosher delis.