The Heat Issue

By Lauren Titus / Photography By Sean Kelly Conway | Last Updated December 05, 2017
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Bird peppers are a lesser known, locally-grown pepper that pack a punch for both heat and flavor.

"If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen."
– Harry S Truman

Homeopathy, a system of alternative medicine, is based on the doctrine that like cures like — if a substance causes the symptoms of a disease in healthy people, that same substance could cure similar symptoms in sick people. Perhaps this is a good strategy to adopt during the sizzling summer months ahead in the South. Rather than resist and avoid the heat, embrace it for the transformational element that it is.

What does a philosophy of engaging with heat have to do with food? From growing to cooking, chances are good that heat, in some form or another, has played a role in most food production. When we eat, temperature is one of the first sensations we detect. It can even affect how food tastes. Ingredients may have a piquancy or spiciness that become associated with a culture and a cuisine. These and other aspects are part of our features in the Heat Issue.

We explore the travels peppers have taken around the world and how such tiny components as a single seed can set your mouth ablaze. We talk to area firefighters and learn about the tradition of cooking at fire stations. Too hot in the kitchen? We hear you. Check out our tips for summer salads and recipes for dinner on the grill,including a make-your-own-pizza party. Read about hot neighborhoods and trends,more evidence that our local food scene is cooking on all four burners.

We hope this issue will ignite your interest in Northeast Florida’s sizzling food community during the languid days of summer. We love hearing feedback from you,so let us know how you are embracing the heat. Be sure to tag us on social media@edibleneflorida.

Lauren TitusEditor



Some Like it Hot

Pattaya Thai on King
The evolution and dissemination of the chili pepper around the world.

Understanding the Scoville Scale

Find out what makes chili peppers hot.

What's in Season

Beets with greens on gray background
Here's a list of local food you'll find in season throughout the year in Northeast Florida.


grilled skewers
What to do when it’s hot outside and it’s time to put dinner on the table? Skewers to the rescue! It’s easy to grill a whole meal, from salad to dessert. 

Chili-Lime Chicken

Grilled Chicken Skewers
This marinade is perfect for a spicy, citrusy kick. For optimal flavor, marinate overnight.

Coffee-Rubbed Beef

coffee rubbed beef
Use this rub to add a slightly sweet new twist to your favorite cut of meat.

Teriyaki Tofu

teriyaki tofu
Perfect with your favorite vegetables, this is also great with tempeh.

Deconstructed Potato Salad

deconstructed potato salad
An easy-to-make side with no bowls required! To speed up the cook time on these kebabs, parboil potatoes before finishing them on the grill.

Eggplant Parmesan on a Stick

Eggplant parmesan on a stick
After cooking, remove ingredients from skewers and toss with cubes of mozzarella cheese for a variation on eggplant parmesan.

Dessert Kebabs

dessert kebabs
End your meal with this party on a stick, featuring summertime fruit and pound cake.

Local Summer Salads

Eat your yard jax florida summer salad greens
Want to eat local through the steamy summer months? You’ll need to rethink your salad.

Sound the Alarm, It’s Dinner Time

Firefighter Zach Washington
Hot Eats at the Fire Station

The Amazing Zucchini

zucchini noodles
Technically a fruit, zucchini can be served as a side dish or featured in a main entree.

Sunflower Zoodle Salad in a Jar

zoodle salad
Using a spiralizer makes quick work of zucchini noodles.

Pizza on the Grill

grilled pizza
Here’s a way to get crispy, perfectly charred pizza without leaving the backyard. Fire up the grill for a make-your-own-pizza party. Preparing the dough and toppings in advance makes it easy for...

The Hottest 'Hoods

Town Beer Co. in Murray Hill Jacksonville
These up-and-coming neighborhoods are on fire with food and drink.

Barreling Liquid Sunshine

David Cohen of Manifest Distilling
Florida's heat sets the stage for a new era of craft distilling in the Sunshine State.

Edible DIY: Flambé

Christina Longo at Taverna
Summer Heat Meets Flaming Sweet.

Blackberry-Peach Flambé

flaming fruit
Liven up a dinner party by lighting dessert on fire!

Up In Smoke

barbecue at The Bearded Pig
Our region’s pitmasters and chefs share tips and tricks for firing up the smoker.

Trends in Food

Good Dough Doughnut in Jacksonville
When You’re Hot, You’re Hot

Foo Dog Curry Traders

Foo Dog Curry Traders
Firing up fast-casual global flavor for meat-eaters, vegans and gluten-free diners alike.

Growing Bird Peppers

Bird Pepper
Move over datil, there’s a new game in town.

The True Cost of Local Meat

Local Meat
Shopping for Bargains Has a Long-term Price Tag.

She's on Fire: Chef de Cuisine Kerri Rogers

Kerri Rogers
Kerri Rogers, Chef de Cuisine at Bellwether Restaurant, has been described by her boss as “tough as nails and 100 percent awesome.”

Datil Ginger Peach Ice Cream Sandwich

datil ginger peach ice cream sandwich
The ultimate treat to beat the heat? An ice cream sandwich! It’s easy to make at home using your favorite flavors of ice cream and cookies. Need some inspiration to get you started? We’ve...

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