While our friends in the north are starting to see temperatures come down, our Southwest Florida weather is still plenty warm. But there is some relief. Citrus is harvested again in September and some of the locally sourced produce can make fun drinks that can help you cool down and make the heat a little more bearable. The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services offers many recipes using Florida produce on their website. Here are some ideas to use your fresh oranges, grapefruit, tangerines or other citrus.
Florida Citrus Smoothie
This easy-to-make smoothie can be enjoyed any time of the day.
· 1 Florida orange, peeled
· ½ Florida Key lime, peeled
· 1 teaspoon lemon juice
· ½ banana
· ½ cup liquid (water, juice, milk, or dairy-free milk)
· ½ cup low-fat vanilla or plain yogurt
· Ice cubes
Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Serve immediately.
Fresh tip: Fruits and vegetables can be prepared in advance and frozen in individual freezer-safe bags. Skip the ice cubes when using frozen ingredients.
Florida Fruit Sangria
· 1 bottle of Florida wine
· 1-2 cups Florida orange juice
· 1-2 cups of Florida berries (such as strawberries and/or blueberries)
· 1-2 cups of cubed Florida fruit (such as watermelon, passion fruit, papaya and/or mango)
· 1-2 cups of sliced Florida fruit (such as star fruit and/or muscadine grapes)
· 1-2 cups ginger ale
Pour the Florida wine and orange juice into a large pitcher. Add all of the Florida fruit except the berries. Place the pitcher in the refrigerator to chill. Before serving add the Florida berries and ginger ale. Serve in a tall glass over ice.
Florida Beer and Citrus Honey Punch
If you’re looking for an adult beverage to enjoy while you beat the heat, this may be the ticket.
· 2 (12-ounce) cans or bottles of your favorite beer, ice cold
· 2 cups fresh Florida grapefruit juice
· 1 heaping tablespoon Florida honey
· 1 lime, squeezed.
· Sliced fresh Florida citrus for garnish.
In a large pitcher, stir together honey and 1/2 cup of hot water until dissolved. Add citrus juices and continue to stir. Add the chilled beer to the citrus mixture and lightly stir. Pour the Beer and Citrus Honey Punch over tall, iced glasses, and garnish with fresh citrus.
Florida Orange-Cinnamon Cider
This drink won’t really help you beat the heat, but if you are looking for taste of fall while using your locally sourced produce, this drink may be the answer.
· 3 cups Florida orange juice
· 2 Florida oranges, sliced thin
· 2 tablespoons Florida orange blossom honey
· 1 lemon, sliced thin
· 3 cups apple cider
· 3-5 sticks cinnamon
· 8 whole cloves
Heat orange juice, apple cider, orange slices, lemon slices, cinnamon sticks and cloves to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove cloves and cinnamon sticks. Stir in honey and serve warm (with a cinnamon stick for stirring, if desired).
These are just a few ideas of things you can make with your locally sourced produce. The Department of Agriculture website has more ideas. We are big supporters of Florida Agriculture and source our produce locally whenever possible. Visit our produce department for some of the freshest, most nutritious produce you can find in Cape Coral.