Florida State Foods
The orange is a mid-sized, round citrus fruit with an orange-colored, dimpled outer skin. Under the thin orange layer is a thicker layer of white pith. Inside, an orange is divided into vertical segments, or carpels, separated by a translucent whitish membrane. Usually each orange segment has one to a few white, pointed seeds, though seedless varieties exist. Flavor ranges from sweet to sour, but oranges are always very acidic. The most common ways to consume an orange are to peel it and eat it as a snack or squeeze it into juice. Oranges are also additions to salads, sauces, marmalades, cakes, and custards.
Spanish explorers first brought oranges to Florida, where they took to the mild climate. Few U.S. states have the warm, frost-free environment oranges require, but demand from outside the state remained low because they were too expensive and difficult to transport. The advent of railroads changed that, and today much of the state grows oranges. Florida has an annual orange festival in Sarasota, as well as smaller annual celebrations such as the Sour Orange Festival in Lakeport.
Key Lime Pie
Key lime pie is a cream pie flavored with thin-skinned, bitter key limes, which are more sour than regular limes. The recipe always includes sweetened condensed milk and eggs. Older recipes rely on lime juice to set the custard and use a baked short crust. Concerns about salmonella and other bacteria ensure that all modern key lime pies are baked until set, and most recipes now specify a graham cracker crust. Key lime pie may be topped with meringue before baking, like lemon meringue pie, or baked plain. Some cooks add a whipped cream topping once the pie is cooled, or serve whipped cream alongside.
Originally from Asia, key limes came to Florida with Spanish explorers and became well established in the Florida Keys. (They don’t grow elsewhere in the U.S. and can be difficult to find.) The pie traces its roots to the mid-1800s and the introduction of canned milk. With neither refrigeration nor space for cows, Florida Keys cooks took to the new product quickly. The most successful invention from this time period was the lime pie, now a symbol of South Florida.
-World Trade Press