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Florida is known for many things such as stone crabs, fresh Florida grouper, citrus and more. When you mention Key Lime people automatically think Florida. But Tupelo honey is a different story. Not many folks know there are different varieties of honey. For example, there is orange blossom honey, wildflower honey, Acacia honey, Sourwood honey and more. Some varieties, like Tupelo honey, are coveted because the tree that bees pollinate, the White Gum Tupelo tree, produce flowers and nectar for such a short time, sometimes only 10 days, and in such a small geographic area, the swamps of North Florida and South Georgia, that crops can be fragile. To much wind or rain and the blossoms fall off leaving the bees empty-handed. Tupelo honey yields are often low and producers sometimes run out before the next harvesting season. Tupelo honey is smooth and fruity, not too sweet with buttery notes as well. It’s really like no other honey you’ve ever had.
Sure, you can find honey lime vinaigrettes just about anywhere on the web. Specialize the ingredients with a unique honey, such as Tupelo and use Key lime juice rather than the more popular Persian lime juice and you have a well balanced, flavorful vinaigrette. You may look at the bowl of Key limes in the photo and wonder why they are yellow. I’m lucky enough to have a Key lime tree in my yard. Key limes harvested commercially are usually picked green but they are not completely ripe. Yellow Key limes are ripe and if you can twist them off the tree easily, they are ready to pick. Key limes are sweet and mildly bitter than their Persian lime relative.
So my recipe for Tupelo Honey Key Lime Vinaigrette is truly a regional specialty. Use it not only for a salad dressing but marinate chicken and grill it. If Tupelo honey and Key limes are not available in your area, you can purchase on the web. Otherwise substitute your favorite honey and fresh lime juice.