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Music – “Captiva Moon” from Sanibel Samba – the Songs of Danny Morgan by Bob Mosci. Released: 2008
If you have ever been to Florida, you will probably have sampled “Key Lime Pie”, prevalent all over Florida, but particularly in South Florida.
The Key Lime is thought to have originated in India, Burma or northern Malaysia and was likely introduced to the Americas by the Spanish and Portuguese explorers during the 16th century. It appears to have escaped cultivation and began growing wild in southern Florida.
The Key Lime (Citrus aurantifolia) is more tart than other limes and smaller in size. The rind is very thin and the pulp tends to be more greenish-yellow in colour, as opposed to the true green of other lime species. If you have sampled true Key Lime Pie, you’ll notice that the colour of the custard is a creamy yellow. If you’ve eaten bright green Key Lime Pie, green food colouring is sure to have been added!
My all-time favourite places in Florida are Captiva Island and Sanibel Island, off the Gulf Coast. The islands were once one island about 6,000 years ago and were inhabited first by the Calusa Indians, and later by the Spanish and Portuguese.
Despite early settlement on the islands and the building of a lighthouse on Sanibel, it wasn’t until 1963 that a causeway was opened between Sanibel Island and mainland Florida and the tourists flocked in and still do so today. The causeway was re-built in 2007 to replace the aging one.
There are so many attractions on the islands, it’s hard to know where to start, but one is the “J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge”. There are about 25 miles of beautiful white sand beaches between the two islands and 230 kinds of birds call the islands home.
If you’re not an avid avian enthusiast, you might, like me, be a shell collector; more than 250 kinds of shells inhabit the waters around the islands and if beach collecting is not your thing, there are plenty of specimen shell shops to tug at your pocketbook.
Of course, despite all of these attractions, there are also Key Limes.
No cookbook from Florida worth its’ salt wouldn’t have key lime recipes. I have a number of Florida cookbooks, but one is devoted exclusively to key limes: “The Key Lime CookBook” by Joyce LaFray Young.
Just for something different, instead of making pie, how about trying this recipe? The original recipe comes courtesy of “Heart of the Palms” by The Junior League of the Palm Beaches:
Key Lime Italian Ice
1 Key lime
1 cup sugar
4 cups water
dash of salt
½ cup Key Lime juice
(Note: if you can’t get fresh key limes, you might try looking for “Nellie & Joe’s Famous Key West Lime Juice”, bottled, and available in many grocery stores)
Remove the zest from one Key lime and cut into small pieces. Place zest and sugar in a blender or food processor and process until zest is finely chopped. Pour mixture into 3 quart saucepan. Add water and salt and heat until sugar dissolves. Cool.
Add enough water to Key Lime juice to make 2/3 cup liquid. Stir into cooled sugar mixture. Pour into divided ice cube trays and freeze. Place frozen cubes in container of blender. Cover and process until the cubes become a velvety slush. Scoop into individual goblets and serve (store remainder in freezer). Makes about 4 ½ cups.
This is a refreshing summer treat
and the key limes make a difference.