Our next stop on the 50 states, 50 recipes tour is;
State capital: Tallahassee
Largest City: Jacksonville
Admission to the Union: March 3rd, 1845, 27th state to join the union
Historically, Florida’s economy was based upon cattle farming and agriculture (especially sugarcane, citrus, tomatoes, and strawberries).
The second largest industry is agriculture. Citrus fruit, especially oranges, are a major part of the economy, and Florida produces the majority of citrus fruit grown in the U.S.—in 2006 67% of all citrus, 74% of oranges, 58% of tangerines, and 54% of grapefruit. About 95% of commercial orange production in the state is destined for processing (mostly as orange juice, the official state beverage). Citrus canker continues to be an issue of concern. The state is the largest producer of sweet corn and green beans for the country.
The Everglades Agricultural Area is a major center for agriculture. The environmental impact of agriculture—especially water pollution—is a major issue in Florida today. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Florida )
If you’re thinking of visiting Florida in person, check out these sites;
I don’t often get a chance to take a vacation ya’ll. I think being a military family we just don’t often think of travel for pleasure because we are always travelin’ for military obligations. But the best vacations I’ve ever had have been to Florida. I’ve been 3 times and each time was something new and different. My first trip to Florida was when I was a teenager with my family to Naples Florida. I remember thinkin’ Florida was so mysterious and beautiful- didn’t hurt I was reading “Interview with a Vampire” at the time which lent itself to enhancing my imagination of Florida’s mystery! My next vacation was to Miami when I was in college with a friend… let’s just say that what happens on spring break in Florida… should stay in Florida! My last time in Florida was a few years ago with the whole Martha clan! SGM Martha had just returned from Iraq and was about to turn 40 years old. Disney was offering military members free admission for military members and half off for dependents. We managed to scrap together enough money to take all three boys (we were in the process of adopting Liberty Belle) and had the best family vacation I can recall. Three boys varying in age at the time between early 20’s to pre-teen filled me with dread- I was worried about if they’d get along, if they’d all have something to do, and if I could survive takin’ care of all of them. Ya’ll when Disney advertises itself as the happiest place on earth- it ain’t no lie! There was literally somethin’ for everyone! The food was fantastic, the lines weren’t as long as we expected, and the shows were spectacular! If ya’ll want a great family vacation… Disney will not disappoint!
I had thought of honoring the heritage of my Cuban friends with a recipe from Miami… but since it was a holiday weekend, and as Maverick reminded me not everyone eats meat on Easter weekend, I chose a beverage instead. This recipe is one I found that tastes like sunshine in a glass- which is exactly what Florida is like!
Mint Orange Agave Cooler
Makes 1 (8-ounce) serving
8 fresh mint leaves
1/3 cup ice
1/2 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons agave nectar*
1/4 cup water
Place mint leaves in the bottom of the glass. With the back of a spoon bruise mint to break up slightly to release flavor. Add ice.
Combine all remaining ingredients, stir and pour over mint and ice.
*Agave nectar is a naturally-occurring sweetener that has a lower glycemic index value than other sweeteners. It is available at supermarkets and natural foods stores.
Cook’s Note: Mix 1/4 cup sugar with 1 tablespoon chopped mint leaves. Stir. Pour onto plate. Wet rim of glass and dip into mixture prior to adding drink. Adds more of that great minty flavor to this drink.
I was real worried ya’ll about finding Agave – come to find out I am behind the times in realizing the popularity of this great sweetener! Every store I went to sold Agave in the syrup aisle, and if not there it can be found in the PB and J aisle, near the honey. It’s sweet, a healthy substitute for sugar and my new favorite ingredient! My son- Sergeant was diagnosed as a young boy with ADHD and doctors recommended we cut sugar out of his diet or restrict it as much as possible. Of course we didn’t have much control over what he ate when he was stayin’ with his Momma, but we did notice that too much sugar made his behavior worse. We tried everything- honey, maple syrup, and artificial sweeteners in recipes to cut down the sugar in his diet, nothin’ tasted as good. But Agave… tastes just like sugar to me! We’ll be usin’ it a lot!
So easy to find the ingredients to this recipe… fresh mint was available in the veggie aisle. As I said- found Agave in several stores. Orange juice was on hand. And found Key Lime juice which seemed more authentic to me than even the fresh squeezed lime juice the recipe called for- so I substituted!
I can’t even say I cooked this because it was basically stirring together. I crushed the mint in the glass with a pestle from my mortar and pestle before adding the ice. I poured everything else into a Mason jar and gave it a good shake. Then I poured it all over the ice and served. The comments I got from the boys at the Fire Department was that this would be great with a shot of Vodka or Rum if you were so inclined! But the end result of the non-alcoholic version ya’ll was tangy with a hint of sweetness!
Review: scale of 1-5 stars; the more stars the better
Ease of preparation: ***** nothing to it at all!
Cost of ingredients: ***** everything was so inexpensive
Taste: ***** SUNSHINE IN A GLASS- and perfect for summer!
Nutrition: ***** the Agave syrup cuts down the sugar, and the rest is fresh citrus!
As I said ya’ll, I’m in love with Agave now! I wish I had known about it sooner. This drink is so tasty and really is an authentic taste of Florida. It brings back memories of some of my best vacations and anytime I need a break, I’ll be makin’ this drink! So until next week when we head to Alabama – May all your journeys be safe and your eats be good!