Florida – On The Menu

Reading a menu in Florida should cause no problem but you might find mention of one or two slightly more unusual dishes or ingredients which might not be so familar.

Key Lime Pie

See article and recipe.

Carambola (Starfruit)

With their star shape Starfruit, as they are frequently known as make a pretty addition to a fruit platter. They can be served raw or cooked but if not ripe they can have a disappointing flavour. Nevertheless they are a good source of Vitamin C, antioxidants and flavonoids.


Sometimes known as a Chinese Orange. Something of an acquired taste it is a variety of a bitter sweet small citrus fruit eaten whole (except for the pips). It is often served as a garnish to a variety of dishes, sweet or savoury, but can also be crystallised.

Palm Hearts (Hearts of Palm)

An expensive delicacy, in spite of its native Floridian name of Swamp Cabbage. Hardly surprising that it is costly since it quite truly is the heart of what has become the state tree of Florida – the sabal palmetto, and by cutting out the central core and the heart (growing tip) the plant dies. Luckily it has become possible to cultivate another variety of palm which sends up suckers so by judicious cutting the supply of this vegetable has been ensured. Usually served in salads Palm Hearts are low in calories and fat and have no cholesterol.

Spiny Lobster

Also known as Rock Lobster, and in some countries crayfish. Spiny lobsters do not have claws and their sweet, tender flesh is found chiefly in their tails.

Stone Crabs

Unlike Spiny Lobsters the stone crab’s delicious meat is in its large claws. The crab can regenerate its claws if they are removed, but as this means the crab is defenceless if both are taken, fishermen usually only remove one at a time. They are a seasonal delicacy and one of the most famous stone crab restaurants is Joe’s Stone Crab Restaurant in Miami Beach where they are usually served cracked with hash-brown potatoes, coleslaw and mayonnaise.

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