Thursday, August 28, 2014

Muscadine Grape Season In South Florida

Muscadine grapes are in season again. They are a native grape variety to Florida and have a unique flavor that is very different than other grapes. Muscadines are used to make jam and wine and can be eaten raw. They have a very thick skin and might make your lips tingle when eaten raw. But their sweet, spicy, pungent flavor and juiciness are well worth the risk.

Florida native grown muscadine grapes on the vine,
Copyright 2014 by Helen A Lockey
Muscadines also have the highest level of antioxidants of any edible grape variety.

You can find fresh muscadine grapes at most grocery stores from August through the end of September. But if you are looking for fresher fruit then contact a Florida vineyard in your area and see if they allow u-pick.

The closest vineyard to South Florida that allows people to pick their own grapes is Henscratch Farms in Lake Placid.

They are open Tues. to Sat. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sun. 12 noon to 4 p.m. You can reach them by calling (863) 699 - 2060 for more details.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Fruit & Spice Park, Homestead, Fla.: All-U-Can-Eat Fruit

Homestead, Fla.—The Fruit & Spice Park is an all-you-can-eat fruit buffet. And like a buffet you can’t take any of the fruit home. Unlike a buffet, you don’t get any plates and you can only eat fruit that has fallen to the ground. But the selection of tropical fruit in this 37-acre park just south of Miami, is worth it.
White sapodilla at Fruit & Spice Park, Homestead, Fla.
Copyright 2014 by Helen A Lockey
For a mere $8 per adult and $2 per child, you can sample fruit from the Americas, Asia, Hawaii and other places around the world that grow tropical fruit. But be careful, there are poisonous fruits trees scattered throughout the property. If you are in doubt ask a park employee.

When I went in July, I ate a green, peach shaped fruit called a white sapote. It had a delicious sweet and sour flavor mixed with floral mango.

Pale pink rose apple at Fruit & Spice Park, Homestead, Fla.
Copyright 2014 by Helen A Lockey
I also tried three types of crisp, very juicy and refreshing Asian rose apples in white, pale pink and red colors. My favorites were the pale pink ones because they had the sweetest flavor. A large number of fruit flies around the tree agreed with me.

Bael Fruit at Fruit & Spice Park, Homestead, Fla.
Copyright 2014 by Helen A Lockey
And the most exotic item I tried was Bael fruit. It looked like a green grapefruit but had a hard shell and a baked sweet potato like texture inside. It tasted like curry had been added to its pungent yet sweet flesh.

The park is open 7 days a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. except Christmas.

It is located at 24801 S.W. 187th Ave, Homestead, FL 33031
Phone 305-247-5727

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Baobab Comfort Food, Florida

Comfort food comes in all shapes and sizes. For me it’s usually salads with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and fresh apples slices. But recently my comfort food choices have expanded to include fruit juice gummies. And my new favorite brand is by CVS’s Gold Emblem Abound, called Superfruit Baobab Bites.

Gold Emblem Abound brand at BlogHer Food 2014, Miami, Fla.
Copyright 2014 by Helen A Lockey
I got introduced to this new comfort food at the 2014 BlogHer Food Conference in Miami, Fla.  The low sodium amount and lack of high fructose corn syrup were the first things to attract me to this treat.

At first bite, I was hooked by the soft texture and delicious flavor. My mouth exploded with a symphony of floral flavors followed by a tart baobab fruit bite.

The flavors remind me a lot of those found in Southeast Asian desserts like jasmine water, lychee and jackfruit.

The only down side of these gummies is that once I start eating them it is very hard to stop.

To find out more about Florida grown baobab you can go to my July 4th blog post.